By Tara Fletcher
ALBANY, Georgia (Albany Herald) — With a Broken Heart, a downtown bakery recently added its name to the long list of small businesses that would close their doors in 2021.
On Nov. 7, Broken Heart Bakery owner Britny Wray posted a message on the bakery’s Facebook page:
“After careful thought and consideration we have decided that financially, the Broken Heart Bakery will not be able to continue to operate. Unless we win the lottery or experience a Christmas miracle, our last day of operation will be December 23. We genuinely thank everyone for the immense amount of support we’ve received and ask that you continue to share your love through the holidays. We’ve enjoyed being a safe space in downtown Albany, and hate saying goodbye …”
While neither Wray nor others with interest in the bakery struck it rich in the lottery, that Christmas miracle they hoped for came just a few days later in the form of a phone call from local business Southern Krate Kitchens.
After meeting with Southern Krate, Wray eagerly accepted the terms of a partnership that allows her to maintain controlling interest in Broken Heart. She said she also welcomes Southern Krate’s knowledge of business and the food industry that she hopes will not only save the bakery but take it to the next level.
“Running a small business has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Wray said. “It consumes your life because you wear so many hats. It’s been the biggest learning experience of my life.”
Wray also said that COVID has been a huge challenge, as well as the lack of foot traffic in downtown Albany.
Albany Downtown Manager Lequerica Gaskins said city officials are working on bringing more events and conferences to downtown and are currently working with a consultant to develop a master plan, with market analysis, for the downtown area. This study will supply the city with important data that will help officials make the right decisions for downtown growth.
“I believe residential living is one of the keys to a successful downtown and the results of the study will support that,” Gaskins said.
Gaskins also said she believes the future of downtown Albany is bright, citing the opening of Cornerstone Coffee and success of Paisley Fig and Southwest Georgia Dance Academy. But for the Broken Heart Bakery, waiting for the completion of a study or the next downtown event was a luxury they could not afford.
Wray said she is excited about her new partners and about upcoming changes at the bakery, including the addition of a daily lunch menu.
In spite of their struggles, on Wednesday from noon-6 p.m., the bakery will provide a free Thanksgiving meal to anyone who comes in.
Wray said she wanted to thank her customers for their support and asked everyone to continue to support all local businesses.
The Broken Heart Bakery will be closed for renovations the week after Thanksgiving and will return with new business hours. Hours are not yet set.
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