Au Péché Mignon, a locally owned pastry shop that opened in the fall of 1991, is remodeling its location in Market Square to accommodate more customers and expand their offerings.
Au Péché Mignon’s menu currently consists of delicate pastries in the case, pies, quiche, croissants, brioche and more recently chocolates and bread baked in the store.
They also have begun providing European-styled light lunches made from imported cheeses that the shop had been carrying and the delicious bread they had been producing.
The expansion will double the size of the shop from 1600 sq ft to 3200 sq ft. After they complete the multi-stage transition, they will have approximately 40-50 seats inside and 20 seats outside.
Joseph and Lisa Gans, the current owners who purchased the shop in 2002, said in the beginning “we had only three tables inside and two outside with a total seating of around 12. The layout was simple and appealing to the eye when a customer would visit.” Now they see a rebound in the economy and an opportunity to grow their business.
Like many small business owners, the Gans’ love the work they do and take chances and make sacrifices to continue their dream. Lisa received a rich, elaborate and classically detailed apprenticeship from the previous owner of the shop.
Before the economic downturn, Joseph traveled to Switzerland to work for a short period in a Confisserie owned by a colleague whose large staff of 25 Pastry Chefs produced fine pastries, chocolates, and bread. “This was a divine experience” said Joseph Gans.
While he was gone, Lisa, with their young son, ran the shop. The expansion comes after a tough time dealing with the downturn in the economy. To survive they did what small business owners do: they made adjustments and changes. They took additional work on themselves and
stopped outsourcing things as simple as laundry and started doing major repairs themselves. These repairs included welding broken steel tables, changing broken panes of glass, and constructing shelves after older ones had collapsed.
Joseph Gans said “even with all of this, we got moving again. All the time never doing the one thing we deemed to be the doom of any bakery or restaurant. We never lowered our quality. Not to save a penny or a dollar. We didn’t even raise our prices through the rough patch. Everyone was dealing with what we were, how could we try to pass the buck and try to pass an inferior product on the customers that had so loyally trusted our name and creations for so long?”
It seems to be a consistent rallying point. Never, ever lower the quality. Just improve the way you do it to continue to ensure the products are affordable to the community.
They say that several times they have been presented options that would save money here and there. But without batting an eye they refused to compromise quality, feeling that it would be sacrilege.
The expansion will facilitate two separate kitchen spaces to produce chocolates and the gluten free items they are so passionate about. “We have, for some time, wished to pursue the route of gluten free products but knew that within our current kitchen it would be impossible,” said Gans
It was with the discovery of their son’s gluten intolerance that they began to educate themselves into the depths of this facet of baking. What they thought was an intolerance has turned out to be much worse. With any exposure he has a severe reaction. The separated kitchen will not share doorways, air supplies or utensils with the normal baking kitchen.
“It is our goal to continue to produce the quality confections that people like our son have developed the love of, but now cannot enjoy without suffering. We have already been able to produce a large number of our creations without wheat or gluten products. When we achieve a bread of outstanding quality, that is also gluten free, then we will have been able to feel the accomplishment of providing the replacement so needed in our own home and our community,” said Gans.