Less than a year after he began selling bread at the Eagleview and Downingtown farmers markets, Fran McLaughlin has opened a storefront for his company, Brandywine Valley Bread.
In February, McLaughlin became a vendor at the local farmers markets. He and his wife Maria Quaranta-McLaughlin quickly discovered customers were demanding more bread than Fran could produce in a shared kitchen.
To meet the demand, McLaughlin opened Brandywine Valley Bread last month at 3941 Lincoln Highway in Downingtown. The store is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 11 AM-6 PM; Saturdays from 8 AM-3 PM; and Sundays from 8 AM-12PM. The store is closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
McLaughlin’s attraction to baking and kitchens began as a young man.
“I remember kitchens being a magnet from the time I was a toddler,” McLaughlin said. “I grew up in Phoenixville. My dad owned an Italian restaurant, and they made focaccia.”
At the moment, Fran does all of the baking. He attributes the success of his bread to using only top-quality ingredients and a technique that is thousands of years old. Maria helps out with the sales end of the business, and at times, the whole family – they have three children – are either in the shop or at the farmers markets.
Fran isn’t finished growing his company.
“I want to continue to nurture it and let it grow organically,” he said. “I visualize in three to five years a small manufacturing facility with a café in Downingtown, which would be a platform for other artisan bakers to use to exhibit their passion.
“It is an absolute privilege and blessing to be able to serve the Eagleview, Downingtown, Kennett Square, and Media farmers markets, as well as the Downingtown/Thorndale community from our storefront. We will be adding coffee to our menu very shortly as well.”
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