by Emily Vanneman
Metropolitan Bakery has been a popular stop for Chestnut Hill residents ever since its opening in 1993. With its recent move to the Market at the Fareway, many are beginning to wonder what changes it will usher in.
Though the location is smaller than the bakery’s former storefront at 8607 Germantown Ave., co-founder Wendy Born said customers will find the same bread her customers in Chestnut Hill know and love.
“The reason we opened in Chestnut Hill in the first place was because a lot of our customers were moving from Center City to Chestnut Hill because they were having kids,” Born said. “The customers wanted us here.”
With their business opening its doors in 1993, touting locally-sourced ingredients and heart-healthy grains, Born and James Barrett helped to ignite the local food movement in the Philadelphia community.
“Chestnut Hill has a sophisticated group of people in terms of food,” Born said. “They want local food. They tend to be a little more health conscious.”
Having a dedication to customer satisfaction has been the driving force for many of the bakery’s moves over the past 20 years. The Market at Fareway, having been recently renovated, is opening its arms to Metropolitan with a similar dedication to quality food and customer contentment.
“Coming to the Market at Fareway is an opportunity to work with a community of food vendors and help build that community in this market,” Born said. “I think it’s exciting that the Hotel and Paris Bistro are open.”
While the bakery will still be offering the same artisanal, freshly-baked bread, croissants and pastries, it’s hard to ignore the downsizing of the business.
“Of course the store had a lot of space, and we had coffee and we had things that we don’t have here, but there are things here that we didn’t have there,” she said.
The benefits of the new location may attract even more customers than ever before. The perusing environment that a farmer’s market invokes will create more of an opportunity for a drop-in buyer.
“There’s more opportunity for that serendipitous new customer because they’re in to either get poultry or tea,” Born said.
The Market at the Fareway also aligns with Born’s vision of the growth that farmers’ markets inspire in small communities.
“I am a believer in markets and farmers’ markets and the synergy that a lot of different vendors bring to a situation, the community that it builds – both among vendors and among the shoppers,” she said. “It fits in because we are offering a high-quality product that has a track record. We like to be team players and be a part of something larger than ourselves.”
Born is confident that her shop’s unwavering commitment to customers will help to maintain the Metropolitan reputation at its new home.
“Obviously we’re here because we have customers in Chestnut Hill that we want to serve,” she said. “That’s our number one priority.”
She said perhaps the most difficult aspect of the new move is the change in hours for the bakery. With the days and hours changed to Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., it’ll be a big change for the Metropolitan customers. Born hopes that the hours will expand in the future.