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Jodi Whalen and Phil Merrick built August First Bakery & Cafe. It now runs without them, but is full of their spirit.

street view of August First Bakery

Photo via [August First Bakery](

This is a very special day for me.

Way back in 2010, when Orange Boot Bakery was still a dream and we were working on graph paper and had almost given up finding a nice location in Regina, this super cool little bakery in Vermont opened up.

It was called August First and was in an old service station on the main drag in Burlington, with the old garage doors that they could open in the summer.

I remember looking at pictures of the building and thinking, “oh why oh why can’t I find an old service station for my bakery?” And “oh why oh why won’t the health department let me have big garage doors that open in summer?

And “oh why oh why can’t I have an oven like Phil, and a logo like that, and happy, smiling customers out front?!?!?!”

Yeah, thing were pretty desperate back then and I would have lots of pity parties. But I kept thinking about August First and what they were doing and slowly, step by step, I got the same things as August First. OK, maybe not the funky garage doors, but lots of the other bits.

So as you can imagine, with over a decade of admiring them from afar, I was over the moon thrilled when Jodi Whalen and Phil Merrick, the owners of August First, agreed to come on the show and have a chat.

We talk about the old days and today and everything in between. It turns out that things were just as hard and challenging and awesome and tasty and amazing as I had imagined, and then some.

And in the process of our talk, I picked up a ton of tips on what it takes to make a small bakery successful for the long term. And now you can too.

As Phil said, there’s room for at least 200,000 more bakeries across North America. I hope this episode helps you become one of the bakeries that lasts.

You can listen to the show on your favourite podcast app, from the Rise Up! podcast website or using the handy audio app below. Enjoy!