We had the good fortune of connecting with Christie Rich and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christie, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Consistency! Most of my business is based on showing up to the Farmers Market every week. From the beginning, I have made it a point to be there every time. Being consistent has helped me build trust with my customers and has given me a steady presence at the markets. It sounds easy, but sometimes it is difficult, especially in Colorado when the weather gets bad. I have stood outside in the rain, wind, sleet, and even snow! My customers know that I will be there and my products will be fresh out of the oven for them to enjoy. Consistent presence plus consistent products equal success.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
The Bread Chic is a Fort Collins-based market bakery, specializing in fresh-baked naturally leavened sourdough bread. All of our bread is baked by our family on the day of any given market, so you can be sure that the bread you take home will be fresh out of the oven to your table. With flavors such as Rosemary, Roasted Garlic, Cheddar Jalapeno, Multigrain, and Rye Sourdough, there is sure to be a flavor for everyone. We also make a variety of pies and goodies. We are known for our pies almost as much as our bread with flavors such as Palisade Peach, Tart Cherry, Blueberry, Fruits of the Forest, Apple, and Chicken Pot Pies. We use locally sourced stoneground organic flour, and farm-fresh ingredients in all our products. I work with local producers and growers to make sure what goes into our baked goods is the highest quality.
When I was growing up, I learned to bake with my mom. We baked bread, cookies, pies, cinnamon rolls, and birthday cakes all from scratch. I learned a lot from my mom and the family always had fresh goodies to enjoy. I carry on that tradition with my son, Micah. He has been coming to markets with me since he was 1 month old and is currently learning how to bake bread and pies with me. Micah is a big help in the kitchen and can often be found running one of our market booths. Baking is something I have always enjoyed so it is no wonder I fell into it as a career and business path. I have been a baker professionally for over 20 years now, working as a pastry chef in high-end restaurants as well as baking for farmers’ markets. I started selling bread at Fort Collins’ markets about 7 years ago. At first, I worked out of my home kitchen under the Colorado Cottage Food Act. I worked tirelessly around the clock to make the bread fresh. I could only make 9 loaves at a time in my small home oven. The demand for higher quantities of bread and pies grew as the years passed. It got to the point where I would sell out within the first 2 hours of a market, leaving customers empty-handed and disappointed. Finally, last June I moved the bakery into a commissary kitchen where I am now able to produce higher amounts of bread, but I am afraid it is still not enough. I am currently exploring spaces for the bakery to call home. The Bread Chic will be expanding into new Colorado communities and markets this summer, and we are also looking forward to bringing bread to our friends across the Wyoming border. We plan to have a place where customers can come in daily and pick up a loaf of bread and a pie for dinner, or get a coffee and cinnamon roll, without having to wait for market days. Stay tuned as our story evolves!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First, I like to take visitors to Horsetooth Reservoir to hike around and enjoy the beautiful views of the lake and Fort Collins. Then, we could go eat at one of the many fantastic restaurants in Fort Collins; Little Thai Pepper, Slyce Pizza, Bawarchi Biryani Point, or Jim’s Wings are a few of my favorites. We would have to go have a beer at Snowbank Brewery, but if they didn’t feel like a drink, we could go to Turtle Mountain Fermentery for some Kombucha on tap! I would definitely take them to one of the many farmers’ markets in town, walk around in Old Town for some fun and see what musicians were playing at the square. If they wanted to relax a bit, we could head over to City Park and lay in the grass or sit by the pond and watch the ducks swim. We might even get lucky and catch the food truck rally! So many great options in this great city!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shoutout to the community of Fort Collins for their continued support. I would not be where I am today without my community. They have helped me hone my baking skills to what they are today, by offering encouragement to keep trying new things, and by supporting my business through challenging times as well as the good. When Covid-19 hit and the farmers’ markets shut down, I received calls and emails from my customers asking how they could support me during this difficult time. I began doing no contact deliveries and started a virtual farmers market so that other local producers could get their products out too. The community supported it with full force! When supplies ran out at the stores, everyone still had what they needed and we all learned what it truly meant to support local!
Youtube: Colorado Rootz Market
The baked bread pictures – Christie Rich All other pics – Justin Snapp