There’s going to be a blip in the ongoing Twin Cities bakery boom.
The New French Bakery, a staple on the local bread scene for nearly a quarter-century, is calling it quits. The closing date? “No later than Friday, March 6,” according to signs posted at the bakery’s retail outlet in south Minneapolis.
There’s a simple reason for the closure: The bakery’s parent operation, now called Rise Baking Co., is discontinuing its fresh breads, with plans to concentrate on its wholesale frozen bread products.
The New French Bakery was founded in 1995 by baker Peter Kelsey. It was an outgrowth of the New French Cafe -- where Kelsey once worked, years earlier, as a bus boy -- and operated in a storefront adjacent to the landmark Warehouse District restaurant.
Kelsey quickly outgrew the space, eventually building the business into a wholesale operation baking 3 million pounds of bread per month and grossing $40 million in annual sales. In 2013, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Kelsey the Minnesota Small Business Person of the Year.
A month later, Kelsey sold the business to Chicago-based Arbor Investments, a private equity firm that specializes in food-and-beverage concerns.
The bare-bones, bread-only outlet (2609 26th Av. S., Mpls.) is the open-to-the-public component of a much larger commercial baking operation – formerly an abandoned nightclub -- that employs hundreds of people.
It’s the affordable source for several dozen well-made styles of loaves, from baguettes to sourdough boule, ciabatta to foccacia, pumpernickel Pullman to sesame semolina.
The store is also home to one of the better bread bargains in town. At the daily “End of Day Sale” (4 to 6 p.m. weekdays, 1 to 3 p.m. weekends), any remaining baguettes go for $1 and any $3 items are priced two-for-$5.
That's not the only deal. The store is conducting a closing sale, with a buy-three-get-two-free deal.