A New Dawn, A New Day

"We have been born once and cannot be born a second time; for all eternity we shall no longer exist. But you, although you are not in control of tomorrow, are postponing your happiness. Life is wasted by delaying, and each one of us dies without enjoying leisure."
Epicurus- Vatican Sayings

In the beginning of every life, of every venture, are the seeds of its end. In baking, that idea was enacted every day in every season for the past 33 years at Bakery Normand. Every day the yeast was brought to vigorous life, the sourdough refreshed, the daily dough mixed and developed, kneaded and shaped, baked and consumed. Every day it begins and ends again.

We have been diligent stewards of this process for many years, starting in 1976 when Patty and I first set out to live and work among good, even great, bakers in family bakeries in Germany. In 1979 we set up our first kitchen and started out on our own on West Street in Northampton. In the Spring of 1980 we re-located our bakery to 44 Main Street, also in Northampton. When that space became too small and we sought the security of ownership, we bought the building at 192 Main Street, Northampton in 1989. There we have continued our trade unbroken to this day.

Baking, as with any food related industry, is for the young, and we have grown old in this profession. We have enjoyed remarkable good health for all these years. In hindsight it is clear that we walked a razor's edge in our small, family-run business, and that any significant physical or financial setback could have knocked us off that edge and undone our entire endeavor. But despite our naiveté, or maybe because of it, we endured, we prospered, and our customers, we hope, benefited.

But our creation, our baking enterprise, is mere stone and stainless steel, mere butter and eggs, without Patty at the register and me at the oven. It was not built for the ages. We were the dreamers and it was our wonderful dream alone. So now, while we are in the youth of old age, we choose to shake ourselves awake, rub our eyes clear, and imagine what other goals, what other challenges, might await us. We have lost any driving ambition long ago, and we have certainly acheived more than we could ever have hoped to acheive after all these years. So now we are ready and feel wonderfully free to ride any future tides of possibility.

On Saturday, September 1, 2012, we will begin the day as we have for all these years. But on that day, when the last dough is mixed, when the last bread is baked and the ovens go cold, that will be the day that Bakery Normand will end.

It has not been lost on our attention that there is much we will miss about our bakery. We will miss the casual, almost self-evident, access to good bread and pastries. Suddenly we will be consumers rather than producers. We will miss all of our loyal and, dare I say, devoted customers; most of them transcend mere transactional relationships. We will miss a long list of energetic, thoughtful and honestly good employees, especially the superb staff who work with us now and who will see us through to the finish line.

We want to thank everyone who has been a part of this modest enterprise for their support and commitment. You have made our work a vocation, and we consider ourselves fullfilled and happy people.

"As long as we are on the road (of life), we must make the later journey better than the beginning, but be happy and content when we have reached the end."
Epicurus- Vatican Sayings


Judith Dean said...

It is with sadness that I read of your closing. We came to the area around the same time and it seems you've always been a part of my Northampton existence, whether buying bread or walking my little white dogs past your open door. I appreciate your readiness to let this dream go and prepare to embrace new ones. My best to you both. Thanks for the memories.

Judith Schenck

Libby Spencer said...

So sad to see you're closing my favorite bakery of all time. I've been away from the Valley for many years, but one of the things I still miss most is your fine bread and sweets.

Thanks for all the delicious memories. Best of luck to you both on the path to your new adventures.

HF of Noho said...

I will miss your delicious baked goods: farewell, soul-feeding and belly-filling butter and cowboy/cowgirl cookies; brioches; cheese and fruit danishes; almond, pear, and cranberry tarts; lemon and hazelnut tortes; spiral, elephant-ear palmiers; and especially the breads, most particularly the rosemary ciabatta and the raisin. And I will also miss the wonderful people who have work behind the glass cases and in the back, who brought friendliness, smiles, and amazing aromas into my life for the past 18 years that I’ve lived in Northampton. I wish you good luck and best wishes as you move forward to new challenges and enjoy new pleasures. Thank you!

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Bakery Normand
192 Main Street
Northampton, MA 01060


Tuesday to Saturday, 7:30am-5:30pm

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