In early January, the line wrapped around the Box Factory buildings and customers filed like soldiers 6 feet apart in the cold, waiting at least an hour to order pastries and treats on the last day Foxtail Bakeshop & Kitchen was open to the public. We checked in with chef owner Nickol Hayden-Cady to see what the future holds for one of Bend's sweetest bakeries.
Source Weekly: In March 2020 you wrote on Facebook, "With this virus outbreak and how serious it is, the restaurant industry will forever change. How can it not?" How has COVID impacted Foxtail Bakeshop & Kitchen since then?
Nickol Hayden-Cady: Covid has impacted Foxtail Bakeshop & Kitchen in all ways possible. Some of the more drastic measures we had to take along the way were, first having to close our doors and lay off all 18 employees in March in a matter of three days because we were not an operational to-go restaurant at the time. We needed to get creative with fundraising measures to ensure we could make it through a harsh Central Oregon winter with low tourism. We developed a fundraiser called Foxtail Reimagined where we teamed up with local artists to sell our rolling pins that made up our upstairs bannister, that were hand painted or designed as art. The fundraiser had moderate success but not enough to meet our needs. Had it not been for the PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] loan we would not have been able to reopen our doors in June. Our hopes for summer were dampened by decreased tourism, canceled or rescheduled weddings, and the fires; all of which had a severe financial burden on us. Ultimately, we had to make tough calls along the way, like cutting our savory brunch department and finally laying off our entire staff because of the continued freeze on restaurants due to Covid number spikes.
"Covid has impacted Foxtail Bakeshop & Kitchen in all ways possible. Some of the more drastic measures we had to take along the way were, first having to close our doors and lay off all 18 employees in March in a matter of three days."tweet this
I started my restaurant as a place for people to gather and talk to one another. I envisioned a place where people could enjoy every medium of art, from the artistic farmers that grow beautiful food in Central Oregon, to the way the food was thoughtfully developed to encompass an experience and a visual beauty. The idea was to bring this to life with a beautiful mural, vibrant employees and playful dishes and pastries to savor the whimsical experience.
SW: There is a misconception that Foxtail Bakeshop & Kitchen is closed, but I've seen your pastries at Lone Pine Coffee Roasters. Are you still baking?
NHC: We are still baking our little hearts out. Currently we are operating as a wholesale bakery, meaning we are not open to the public, but you can still enjoy our delicious, made from scratch pastries at Lone Pine Coffee Roasters, Backporch Coffee Roasters, Megaphone Coffee Co. and Still Vibrato Coffee. We will be having occasional pop-ups; the next one is for Valentine's Day. You can pre-order our desserts online to pick up for Valentine's Day loved ones by the 11th of February. We still take birthday cake, cupcake and pie orders online with a three-day notice.SW: Your business is up for sale. Who are you hoping purchases Foxtail Bakeshop & Kitchen?
NHC: I have always known that my purpose was to birth Foxtail. My soul had something to create and I knew that would be a huge sacrifice for myself and my family but it needed to come to life. I am so proud of what my mother and I have created. I achieved all my goals and dreams for Foxtail with the help of my incredible staff. If it wasn't for this pandemic, we would have stayed on our projected growth path. When we decided to put Foxtail up for sale it was a very hard decision, but we know that someone else with more funds can truly make Foxtail magical and more attainable for the Pacific Northwest. Ideally I would like it to go to a person or couple who would carry on its legacy. I am proud of my vision and would like to see it continued and I know our loyal customers would as well.
SW: Do you know what's next for you?
NHC: Well, what's next for me is this: I fully intended to continue Foxtail in its current form at the moment until it sells or we are able to have 100% occupancy indoors again. As far as my future, all I can say presently is that it will entail giving back to the community, working with the land and pushing the same innovative spirit I have always given.
SW: Is there anything the community can do to help local restaurants survive the pandemic?
NHC: The community can help the restaurants that are still pushing to keep their employees employed and doors open, by continuing to support the businesses they don't want to see close. First, show up as if this pandemic was not happening. Second, treat those in the service industry with respect. There is a lot of unkindness going on out there. Don't take part in it and call it out when you see it.
SW: What advice do you have for students?
NHC: For the Culinary and Pastry arts students out there, with the restaurant industry truly evolving into something I hope will be spectacular, this is your time to hone in on your skills. Find your purpose and style in Culinary Arts. Inspire others so they can find it in their soul to create. Be fully present in your craft and the essence of what you cook will be a force of pure enjoyment. Always allow yourself to dream big!