Katonah Small Business Coming This Summer–LMNOP bakery
When her twin girls were young, and often restless, there were only two things that could settle them for bed: the smell of Anne Mayhew’s fresh baked bread, and the alphabet song–more specifically LMNOP. Little did Mayhew know, these 5 letters of her children’s favorite lullaby, would eventually become the name of very own bakery.
“It’s huge to make the choice to move to a business from doing something as a hobby,” said Mayhew, owner of LMNOP Bakery, which will open a retail location on Katonah Ave this summer.
Nearly seven years ago, Mayhew decided to learn how to bake bread for fun in her kitchen. As she grew fonder of the hobby, she soon began mixing up new baked goods while her girls would nap. Mayhew found baking new things “addictive” and “fun to figure out how to make better each time.” Before long, she recognized the potential to turn this hobby into a business. When Mayhew was making eight loaves a week, and teaching classes to help pay the bills, one of her students suggested going to The Outpost, a local and organic food store in Bedford, to see if they wanted to buy her bread. Owner, John Ubaldo, has been placing the same order every Saturday since first trying Mayhew's bread. “He’s so consistent and was a strong supporter from the beginning,” Mayhew said, “They’ve been helpful to spread the word.”
Before opening LMNOP, Mayhew worked for the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. In this job, Mayhew recollects feeling like a “cog in that great wheel of that giant employer,” and was never able to witness “appreciation from customers face-to-face.” Now, Mayhew interacts directly with her customers and is proud to set an example fir her kids by running her own business.
During the pandemic, as Mayhew baked in her home kitchen, business actually increased, as many people felt afraid going to the grocery store. To keep up with demand, Mayhew developed a pre-order system that evolved from text, to email, to a Google form, and eventually to a website. People started signing up for Mayhew’s bread online, resulting in quick sellouts.
With every successful bakery, there’s always a fan favorite. At LMNOP, the most popular product has been the Bedford Sourdough. It’s a simple mix of wheat and rye blended with flour and water. “It’s the one thing I make every week,” said Mayhew. “A lot of people love a consistent loaf.”
Once the height of the pandemic had passed, business started to move outside of the kitchen. Business had grown to a point where Mayhew needed to move to a commercial kitchen to keep up with demand. In November, Mayhew took a place in Peekskill, still continuing to look for a location in Katonah that would not only suit her needs but also facilitate within her community. Once she found a Katonah facility, Mayhew had the kitchen she had always needed. There was a sink, oven, all the hookups and even a mixer. This worked great as a “one person show,” for Mayhew, but as business continued to grow, Mayhew decided to move the bakery to Katonah.
Mayhew says that transforming from a baker into a small business owner has been a learning experience. Being a full-time business owner and a mom, Mayhew said is both a “burden and a blessing.” As LMNOP took off, Mayhew’s husband has taken on more of the child care while also helping to support the bakery. "That personal situation was a learning experience and great for a marriage to experience," Mayhew said.
To raise money to open a retail space for LMNOP, Mayhew said she explored a lot of different options but ultimately chose to launch an independent fundraising initiative. The Field to Family Fundraiser invites community members to purchase a virtual membership card at an amount of their choosing. “For the love of good bread” members can buy in for $50, and “Bakery Builders” can donate a generous $10,000. And there are lots of other membership levels in between. “The money raised goes directly into the building fund and gives people a sense of ownership,” Mayhew said. “It helps us grow and it helps them to have a bakery downtown.”
LMNOP will open at 25 Katonah Ave, in the space that was previously occupied by Little Joe's, just across from the Katonah train station. The facility has two floors, putting bakery production and some seating upstairs. Upstairs, Mayhew said is“built to be conducive to teaching workshops and hosting little events,” even hosting a “private meeting if you need to reserve the space.”
Downstairs will house a retail space and a coffee bar with coffee from Brooklyn’s Parlor Coffee. LMNOP is also working on a liquor license, to natural, organic, on-tap wines and beers.
One thing that sets LMNOP apart from many other bakeries is its zero waste policy, something that was always important to Mayhew. "We always baked to order. If people didn't pick up or somehow there were extras, we started donating to the Community Center of Northern Westchester,” explained Mayhew. When Mayhew saw success with donations, she decided to add the option for customers to buy loaves for families in need. LMNOP now between fifteen and thirty loaves every Thursday.
After months of construction, preparation and planning, LMNOP Bakery will open its doors to the public this summer. The storefront sign recently went up on the building's exterior. Mayhew's children have been drawing and re-drawing the ideal floor plan, and the local community has been expressing excitement on social media. Until then, loaves will continue to be available to order online at LMNOP Bakery each week.