Allergy-Free Bakery Graduates From Short-Term Pop-Up to Permanent Vendor at Boston’s Local Food Market
March 4, BOSTON — Jennifer Lee's Gourmet Bakery, which specializes in baked goods for people with dietary restrictions, is now open at the Boston Public Market. The bakery, which ran a successful short-term pop-up at the Market in January, sells gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, and dairy-free breads, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and donuts.
“I am extremely excited to be a permanent vendor at the Boston Public Market,” said Jennifer LaSala, owner of Jennifer Lee's Gourmet Bakery. “Since my first day here as a short-term vendor, I knew that it was the right place for my bakery and was overwhelmed with joy from all of the customers with allergies and dietary restrictions telling us their stories and how happy they are to have us at the Market."
Jennifer Lee's Gourmet Bakery produces all of their products in their commercial kitchen in Malden, Massachusetts, and sources ingredients such as jams, maple syrup, apple cider syrup, fruits, vegetables, and alcohol from local farms such as Carr's Ciderhouse in Hadley, Silverbrook Farm in Dartmouth (another Boston Public Market vendor), Brooksby Farm in Peabody, and Russell’s Orchards in Ipswich.
Jennifer LaSala, 22, launched the business when she was 17 and a senior at Chelsea High School. After winning 1st place at the Chelsea High Business Plan Competition, she went on to win 3rd place out of 1100 students at the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s Regional Business Plan Competition. Jennifer then put herself through business courses at Johnson & Wales by selling her baked goods at local farmers markets. In 2013, she was named Global Entrepreneur of the Year for all of New England by Goldman Sachs.
“In 2014, after an accident at the ice cream store I was working at, I learned that I had severe allergies. While recovering, I started breaking out in hives and my doctors told me I probably had a gluten or dairy allergy,” said Jennifer. “I was terrified. What would I eat? I later found out that my allergies were not to food but to painkillers. With that scare, I changed my bakery to cater to those with allergies, so that they can have a safe place to eat without worry.”
“We’re excited to welcome Jennifer Lee’s Gourmet Bakery back to the Boston Public Market after an outstanding January pop-up,” said Tiffani Emig, Director of Market Operations for the Boston Public Market. “Since our opening last July, we've heard many customer requests for gluten-free and allergy-friendly foods, and we are delighted to be able to expand those offerings.”
The Boston Public Market offers two types of vendor opportunities – permanent and short-term. Permanent vendors maintain the full operating hours of the Market (Wednesday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.) and lease a space for one or more years, in which they may create their own retail environment in a wide range of size options.
The short-term vendor opportunity allows food growers and producers the chance to participate in the Market for a limited time frame (typically two to four weeks). This option is ideal for businesses that sell more limited products, including those with short-growing seasons, holiday concepts, single product producers, and specialized production concepts, as well as entrepreneurs testing a concept.
Jennifer Lee's Gourmet Bakery is the first short-term vendor to sign a lease for a permanent vendor space at the Market.