August 26, 2010

Chestnut Hill Dining Guide

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Much-kneaded Poppy’s Seed Bakery rises to the top

Bev Loux (right), co-owner with husband Ron of Poppy’s Seed Bakery in the Chestnut Hill Farmers Market, is seen with Corinda Bergey, an employee, friend and Chestnut Hill College student. (Photo by Tim Sheridan)

Time after time, Souderton resident Ron Loux would hear comments from customers at the Chestnut Hill Farmers Market on Germantown Avenue about the need for a bakery.

So he decided to fulfill that need. (Their last name is pronounced “Lowx” (German) rather than “Loo” (French) because the family moved from France to Germany many years ago.)

“The market was without a bakery stand, and the customers would often comment about the market needing a bakery,” Loux said.“(My wife) Bev and I decided to combine our years of market experience with our desire to start our first business, and we opened Poppy’s Seed Bakery.”

And from there, a new business was created by Loux, who has been working in farmers markets since he was eight years old when his father owned a poultry stand in the former Germantown Farmers Market. As an adult, Loux worked for nine years at Neidermyers Poultry at the Chestnut Hill Farmers Market. But when a gelato stand at the market closed in April of 2008 and the space became available, he saw the chance for a change.

“The new owner of the farmers market, Ron Peete, was also interested in bringing a bakery into the market, so we started to have a conversation regarding what it would take to make it happen,” he said. “The whole thing revolved around working here so long and constantly hearing about the need for a bakery. I knew it was something the market was looking for.”

And fortunately, everything came together much quicker than Loux had originally assumed. Though he said he was told getting the licenses to open the bakery would take three to four months, he had everything settled in about 10 days. “So it was all supposed to be,” he said. “It was the combination of wanting to do this and me being crazy.”

Discussions about the business began around June, 2008, and the bakery opened four months later.

The bakery offers a wide variety of items, from breads and rolls, to pies and cakes, fresh doughnuts, bagels, cornbread, scones and hamentashen. “We bring in fresh breads and rolls daily from several established bakeries,” Loux said. “The cakes are made for us by a great bakery, and Bev bakes the pies here on site.”

You might say the bakery has been filled with turnovers since they now offer gelato as well as gluten-free breads and even coffee and coffee beans since they took over a nearby coffee stand just one month ago. “The owner was there eight years, and I told him when he wants to retire, I would be interested in it,” he said. “I’m really excited about it. We’ll bring in some high-end teas too…

“Our customers are more than just customers to us, they are our friends. Our customers are very loyal in supporting our business, and they often ask how it is doing. Having a customer who is looking for a particular item, and seeing the excitement when we are able to produce that item, is very rewarding. We recognize that there are several bakeries in Chestnut Hill, and we feel honored that our customers have chosen Poppy’s Seed Bakery as their bakery of choice.”

The name of the bakery comes from Loux’ family since his grandchildren call him “Poppy,” and he calls them his “seed.” You might say Loux is a “roll model” since several members of his family work at the bakery as well. They enjoy making people feel good who have had a “crumby day.”

In addition to selling baked goods and being allowed to be flaky, Loux gets a great deal of satisfaction out of learning how to relate to all types of people. “You learn to deal with people, talk to people, work with customers,” he said. “There are valuable life lessons, which are essential to be able to survive … People know each other and stop to talk, rather than coming in, getting their shopping done and leaving. We know most of our customers by name.”

The bakery is open Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prices of baked goods range from 69 cents for bagels to $13.99 for pies and between $17.99 and $22.99 for cakes. For more information, call 215-242-4252.


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