Updated: Aug 10, 2020
Paul Eddie Toney, Jr. | Owner & Baker | Eddie's Bakery
I entered business school with the goal of starting my own business one day. Throughout some of my first business classes, I knew my family business was special. The knowledge I was gaining couldn't go unused. This is when I started putting together ideas to help grow my family business.
When my Dad and Step Mother purchased the business in 2018, I knew it was go time. I pitched so many different ideas:
Starting a Facebook page
Creating an online shop for people to purchase product across the country
Creating brochures and marketing material
The lists goes on and is constantly evolving. After we launched some of these ideas, the response was incredible! People love the stories we have to tell and always want to stay in the loop in what's going on at the bakery.
Without the support of my Dad, these ideas would have never come to life. I'm excited to see where the business takes them throughout the following years and can't wait to come up with more crazy ideas for them to grow the business.
In addition to my ideas, my Dad also always has crazy ideas of his own. From creating new product, to care packages, open houses at the bakery, and turning the bakery into a destination for visitors traveling from around the world.
Check out these delicious Maple Bacon Donuts he created a few years ago...amazing! This is just one of many new products he has introduced since taking over the family business. I couldn't be more proud of him.
This is an exciting time for my Dad, Step Mother, and the family business.
Enjoy his story below.
Tell us about yourself - Where are you from and what did you wish to be when you grew up?
I’m 53 years old and have been cooking my whole life! I started early, when I was about 5 years old. My Grandfather, Eddie Toney, would take me to the bakery to make donuts. I took Culinary Arts classes throughout high school which covered both cooking meals and baking delicious pastries. The Academy also brought me to Boston where I competed. I went to college for 2 years for Hotel Restaurant Management and then traveled back home to work in the family business, Eddie’s Bakery.
What brought you to where you are today?
I have been fortunate to have worked in this business for as long as I have. The experience of working with family and customers on a daily basis is what has given me the ability to own and operate the bakery today.
What do you do professionally?
I co-own, operate, and bake for our wholesale and retail bakery in Vermont.
What year did you purchase the business and how long did it take to increase the existing client base?
My Grandfather started the business in 1956. In 1975 my parents purchased the business and grew our wholesale business significantly. My wife, Heidi, and I purchased the business from my parents on January 1st, 2018. Through the assistance of my daughter, Ashley, we have expanded our outreach to retail as well, selling on our website and Facebook. It didn’t take long after starting our Facebook page that we received more wholesale customer accounts and started increasing our retail business.
What does a day in the bakery look like?
We have quite the team at Eddie’s Bakery. On a daily basis, I bake all of the product and I have 3 packaging assistants who complete the finishing touches on product
and package all of the baked goods for delivery. Some days, after a full day at the bakery, I will load up the delivery truck and deliver on the route. Our wholesale business has grown so much, we simply can’t do it with one truck anymore.
What do you do to stay involved in the community?
Outside of business in the bakery, we enjoy participating at local festivals such as Maple Festival in St Johnsbury, VT and Autumn On The Green in Danville, VT. It allows us the opportunity to be creative and create new product for customers and connect with them face-to-face. We also do as much as we can to help out our servicemen and women and local children in the community.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
We have grown drastically the last two years and hope to keep growing only as long as we can continue to serve our customers in a satisfactory manner.
What advice would you give to people your age looking to start their own business?
Work hard and never give up.
If a child walked up to you and asked for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to work and put the effort into whatever it is your doing!
What do you enjoy most about being a baker?
I enjoy doing things the old fashioned way. We don’t use big machines, everything we do is by hand. That is what is so unique and special about our bakery. Not many bakeries do this anymore. It’s what truly makes us stand out and is something we take a lot of pride in.
Paul Toney, Jr.