Building our future – from (a hole in) the ground up

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We all know how difficult life can be when you’re living in the midst of a kitchen or home renovation. While your personal renovation probably isn’t as large as ours is here at King Arthur Flour, all renovations share a few commonalities: precious items packed away safely (products from our store shelves), the unbearable anticipation of finishing, and the sweet relief when friends come to visit and give you a distraction from all that noise…

The expansion of our Baker’s Store, café, and bakery is well underway, and all of us working at this employee-owned company would love you to pay a visit and give us that much-needed distraction. The store is open the same hours it’s always been; and with the exception of a missing display or two, it’s just as much fun to visit as ever!

Since the future building will be triple the size of the current one, you’ll notice some immediate changes to the grounds. While the trees and greenery are temporarily missing, you can still enjoy your picnic lunch outside on a table – while watching the big rigs at work!

Another major change is the huge hole in the ground where the store’s main entry used to be. A lovely new walkway was created on the opposite side of the building, with signs clearly marking the way. Bathrooms have been moved to the hallway by the bakery counter – and “deluxe” portable bathrooms have been placed in the parking lot for your convenience.

(click on the image above to enlarge it)

We can all agree that things at our store have become a bit cramped. One look at the design plans and you can see how much more room there will be. No longer will the cafe and store have to fight for space. The current building will be dedicated solely to the cafe and bakery counter with a separate room built for retail items. The thing that might “take the cake” though, is the addition of a window into the bakery so you can see our bakers hard at work.

Just like King Arthur’s magician, Merlin, the construction crew is making things happen in what seems like the blink of an eye (or the wave of a wand). Just 1 year from now, the store will have been transformed into a truly vacation-worthy destination for your entire family. Visit during the renovation – it’ll be like capturing a moment in history.

comments

  1. peaceinbaking

    I was up last weekend with my sister for a class (absolutely wonderful – the pastry chef’s apprentice, Mitch Stamm is wonderful) and for us you are already a vacation destination. Though we can’t wait for your new space to be completed. More retail space will mean we will need larger shopping carts!
    I was thinking I’ll need to expand my pantry space at home for all of the new goodies. Sounds like you’ll need to too!
    ~ MaryJane

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  2. jennifer6789

    It figures! I was planning my first trip (pilgrimage) to KAF in September (my birthday weekend!)….do you think it is still worth the trip. I am North of Boston, so would be a 2 1/2 hour drive I think….
    Hi Jennifer,
    We are 100% open, so definitely come on up. We’d love to see you! ~ MaryJane

    Jennifer, we’re just 2 hours from Boston, so unless you’re a lot east or west of Rte. 93, it should be less than 2 1/2 hours… And as MJ says, definitely come; we’re making extra-sure everyone has a great experience throughout this construction. PJH

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  3. dwgentry

    So – this has nothing to do with the renovation (although I look forward to taking a class some day in the new BEC). At the top right of the blog is a “cloud” of tags, and those used the most are bigger. So – look at how Chocolate is the biggest/most used tag – clearly larger than bread. Who wudda thunk?
    This doesn’t surprise me. We all know PJ loves her chocolate, and for good reason! Just clicked on that tag, and suddenly feeling the strong urge to go eat some of the chocolate cake in our community kitchen… Way to go, D.! ~Jessica

    The tag cloud represents how many recipes are “tagged” with the word chocolate and indeed, there are a lot- because chocolate can be in cookies, brownies, cake, bread, scones, muffins… just about anything. It’s a ubiquitous ingredient. But as for number of recipes… look at the recipe categories just below the cloud. Bread, with 84 recipes, is #1. So I think we can safely say they share the spotlight! PJH

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  4. "Paul from Ohio"

    Keep things OPEN, we’re coming in October – can’t wait!!! Just cleaned out the pantry so it’s a no-brainer that we’ll be coming home with some true GOODIES, not to mention those we’ll be consuming!!!!
    We can’t wait Paul! Have a safe trip, we’ll see you this fall! ;) ~The Bakers Hotline

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  5. April was in CT now CA

    Oh how I wish we still lived in CT so we could come visit after the renovation is done! We made a trip up that way specifically to see the KAF store/bakery while we lived in CT and I had SUCH a fun time browsing, but do agree it was a bit cramped. Congratulations on thriving enough to need and be able to expand. I may not be a transplant New Englander any longer, but KAF is still the flour in my kitchen.

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  6. jstettler

    My husband and I did make the pilgrimage to KAF the week of July 4. We had taken a car ride vacation from Pennsylvania to the Adirondacks stopping in Glens Falls, NY. When I realized we were less than 3 hours from KAF it was a no brainer. We spent 3 hours in the store, shopping, chatting and having lunch. (That was my husband in the cafe on a cell phone conference call with a cookie and coffee.) From inside the store I never would have known what was happening outside the store. Can’t wait to go back after the expansion. Every baker should visit as soon as they can!! There’s no reason to wait! One question – where is King Arthur Flour actually made? Is there is factory tour anywhere?
    Unfortunately, we do not have a tour available. Our flour is milled in various locations in the United States and you can learn more about this process in these videos. ~Amy

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  7. Sarah

    Oh hooray! My Mom lives 1/4 mile from you guys in Norwich. One of my favorite things is when we come on our yearly week long visit is that we stop by and get tasties from the shop for breakfast as we head out adventuring or “Vermonting” for the day! Can’t wait to see what’s new! See you next year!
    We will look forward to your visit! ~Amy

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  8. arieshawk

    I would love to come visit during your renovation…to be able to see the work in progress, so that when all the hard work is done, I could see all the amazing changes that have been done. I think it says a lot that I want to plan a vacation from California to Vermont to visit my favorite baking supply company! (and possibly future employer!)
    Amy Iversen
    Yes, Amy, please come visit us and I certainly can’t blame you for wanting to work here someday. Perhaps someday in the future, the stars will align and you will become a fellow employee-owner. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. ~Amy

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  9. marbarre

    My husband and I visited a few weeks ago and were surprised to see all the activity going on! I can assure all that you can still visit and have a great time, at least we did.
    I also have to reminisce. I took what I think was the very first BEC class which was held at the Essex Inn. On the way up( from NYC) I stopped at the “baker’s store”….quotes indicate “such as it was”. It was a small space with things stocked to the ceiling! I had to buy a few items for the class which lasted the weekend and was hosted by the Sands! One couple drove their BMW motorcycle up from NYC also. I am still in touch with a woman that I met at that class…I have to think it was in 1996???
    I have been enjoying KAF, the classes and watching you all grow and flourish ever since! Can’t wait for the next phase.

    Thanks for the memories – I remember teaching that class with Brinna up at The Inn at Essex. We worked at long tables in a conference-room type of place, and I piled all our supplies under the cloth-draped tables… I also recall the delicious meals we were served. And yes, the store was in a corner of the current BEC space. We’ve come a long way, eh? PJH

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  10. mikest

    I’ve been up there (from St. Louis) for a couple of classes (Fundamentals of Bread Baking and International Pastries) at the Baking Education Center, but I don’t see it on the map (read: demolished) and there is no new label showing where it is going. Is it still going to be at this location, or moved down the road by the warehouse?

    Michael, it’s going to be much bigger – pretty deluxe, in fact – and moved back on the property so it’s part of the current (being enlarged) store building, along with the bakery, which is also being moved. Everything on that campus will now be in one large U-shaped building, with an open courtyard in the center. The building currently holding the store/BEC was old when we bought it 15 years ago, and isn’t worth keeping; it’ll be responsibly dismantled. PJH

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  11. Barbara

    We were at your store on Friday while in Vermont on vacation. Such a lot of activity outside! Can’t wait to see what it all turns out like next year!

    Thanks so much for your patience while we expand and renovate! Every day brings new progress and excitement. We hope you visit next year when the construction is complete. Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply

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