THREE OAKS — After a month of renovations, Froehlich’s Bakery & Deli recently reopened its downtown Three Oaks location with a new layout and a fresh take.
Froehlich’s, a downtown Three Oaks mainstay for a quarter century, has changed its layout some with renovated shelving – part of several projects the business is juggling.
“This year we underwent this major transformation on the front of the shop, so we really needed that full month,” owner Colleen Froehlich said. “We were right down to the wire. There are a few things we were trying to button up before reopening (on Feb. 9).”
Froehlich said now just felt like a good time to rehab the building at 26. N. Elm St., with an increase in downtown foot traffic helping to drive her decision to push forward with the project.
“Our season really used to be Memorial Day to Labor Day, and now we’re seeing steady business even through October,” she said. “Most of our business goes online and we shipped our products all over the country.”
The new layout meant moving the counter, which split the building in half, to be parallel with the sides of the building. With more room for shelving, Froehlich said it is now easier to access the bathroom. Before the new layout, customers would have to maneuver through the kitchen in order to reach the bathroom.
The store also added a second register, something Froehlich hopes will speed up the checkout process and decrease the length of lines.
“We condensed things in the kitchen and are focused on making things run more efficiently,” she said. “Everything ran north to south and there was a small area for a register. Now everything runs east to west.”
The only items that did not move are deli case and a shelving unit on the south side of the building.
Froehlich’s has also increased its pastry and cake production. Andrew Logan joined the business as an executive pastry chef two years ago, expanding the European pastry section. The change helped boost the store’s wedding-related business.
Froehlich heads up the savory side of the business. She handles the canning, which includes homegrown preserves, jams, jellies, fruits and vegetables. Offerings also include marinade and seasonings, pantry and snack items, sweet treats and spicy preserves.
“I am a freak for anything hot. Really spicy. Probably more spicy than most people like so I have to tame it down for the general public,” Froehlich said. “My mom is from the Gulf Coast, so I grew up with Tabasco in my veins.”
More change on the way
When Froehlich’s first opened, there were 24 empty storefronts in downtown Three Oaks. Now that the downtown area has become a popular destination, Froehlich’s is opening a second location across the street in the former Three Oaks Pharmacy building, at 19 N. Elm St.
The decision to do so has come from an increase in business, which Froehlich said can be attributed to the recent trend of knowing where food comes from.
“People want to know where their food is grown and that’s all I’m about,” Froehlich said. “I was gardening at 12 and kept doing it. I’ve always had a garden, and now I have been able to go back to those farmers who grow for me now. I like to know where my food comes from and there’s nothing better than a tomato from the garden.”
Froehlich hopes to open up the second location by this time next year. Their current building will still operate under the Froehlich’s name, but just as a bakery.
The new location at 19 N. Elm St. will house retail merchandise and operate as more of a full-service, sit-down restaurant. Canning also will be done across the street. The second location will be called Froehlich’s Kitchen and Pantry.
“That’s what part of this renovation was for,” Froehlich said. “It was about getting ready for that transition of both locations.”
Froehlich said once the Kitchen and Pantry opens next year, they expect to hire 50 more employees. That’s more than double the amount the store has during the busy summer season.
Froehlich’s is now operating under winter hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday. The store returns to summer hours on April 1.