PULLMAN — Laine’s Bake Shop, which for the past year has operated a brick and mortar bakery at the One Eleven Food Hall incubator in Pullman, announced it will close that Far South Side location.
Laine’s, founded in 2013 by Rachel and Jaryd Bernier-Green as a family-operated artisan baking company with a social mission sells its sweets at dozens of Whole Foods locations as well as at several South Side coffee shops. It opened its store in the Pullman food hall at 756 E 111th St. in May.
But in a farewell statement published on its blog Saturday, Rachel Bernier-Green said the location’s last day will be February 29.
She said closing was a difficult decision brought on by a struggle to make the food hall location profitable due to unspecified “challenges behind the scene.”
“Investing additional resources in operating this location takes away from our ability to execute our mission. I created ‘Laine’s as a social enterprise food manufacturing company committed to catalyzing wealth in south and west side communities in Chicago by profitably scaling our company and transferring ownership to employees through an Employee Stock Ownership Program,” she wrote.
Laine’s still operates a production facility at The Hatchery in East Garfield Park. In addition to Whole Foods, Laine’s sells products at Ja Grill in Hyde Park, Two Mile Coffee Bar in Beverly and South Shore Brew Coffee Shop.
Bernier-Green said the company “will focus on growing the wholesale and foodservice portions of our business.”
In Pullman, Laine’s was operating under a one-year lease offered to businesses in the food hall, which was developed, in part, by the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, which is working to revitalize the neighborhood by bringing in new businesses.
Ciere Boatright, vice president of real estate and inclusion for Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives, said it will support Laine’s however it can going forward.
“We want our businesses to be successful, and successful wherever they are. We’re going to support Rachel in every light,” Boatright said.
“We want our businesses to test the market and we want them to do it where there’s a limited risk,” said Boatright. “By no means did Laine’s fail. It’s the opportunity for her to pivot and do what is best.”
It can be difficult to predict how well a business might do when making a transition from catering to having a brick and mortar, Boatright said, but One Eleven offers food entrepreneurs that opportunity to learn and grow as business owners.
“When you think about the One Eleven food hall, it is an incubator,” said Boatright. “You’re going to have businesses that stay longer than others and I think it just speaks to the flexibility of the space and the different experiences.”
During the process of businesses joining the food hall, they are offered coaching which eases them in and guides them, Boatright said.
Laine’s will have its final event at the food hall at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Laine’s is encouraging customers to stop by and purchase a few of their customer favorites like pecan pie, cheesecake jars and cobbler.
In her farewell, Bernier-Green urged people to support the other businesses at One Eleven, and said those curious about future Laine’s pop-ups can text “LAINES” to 66866 to get updates.
Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Already subscribe? You can make a tax-deductible donation to support our nonprofit newsroom here.