WILLIAMSBURG – For a moment on Monday afternoon, the bake shop smelled as much like caulking as it did cookies, as contractors worked quickly to get the newest Ovenly outpost ready for its soft opening. Employees and owners alike worked to fix flowers, arrange chairs and set out cookies as one worker gently affixed a mirror to the wall with giant suction cups. And then just like that—they were in business!
Soon the small shop on Williamsburg’s North 5th Street, between Kent and Wythe, was smelling like freshly brewed coffee and delicious baked goods. Balloons outside attracted a steady stream of curious pedestrians, who peeked their heads inside to inquire about the cute new space. Their hosts graciously handed out cookies and treats, alerting them that the bakeshop would have it’s soft opening this week, with a grand opening on Saturday, March 3rd.
The Williamsburg location marks the 4th storefront opened by the dynamic founding duo of Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin, who started the business in Greenpoint in 2010. Other locations include Park Slope, near Barclay’s Center, and the Vanderbilt Market in Midtown. While nothing is set in stone, Patinkin did hint at a possible new Manhattan location in the not-too-distant future.
The burgeoning chain has big plans, and its owners are fond of saying they’d like to be “the neighborhood bakery in every neighborhood.”
Along with the four storefronts, Ovenly wholesales to more than 150 locations across the city. And their ambitions don’t stop there: the self-professed “work wives” of nearly a decade are looking beyond the city, envisioning 15, 20, 30 stores—if and when the time comes.
For now, the company is focused on the literally quotidian: “We want to be a treat yourself moment,” says Kulaga, “A daily moment of joy.”
Prices are consistent with what one would expect from a boutique bakeshop. Cookies, brownies and the like run $3-4, while breakfast treats like croissants and quiche will set customers back a bit more. While cheaper bites may be available elsewhere, Ovenly boasts fresh, handmade baked goods, using high-quality ingredients.
Prices also reflect the “radical responsibility” that the owners feel to their employees, which includes extensive benefits and considerations unavailable in many food-industry positions, like maternity leave. The store’s open hiring process doesn’t discriminate against those with gaps in their employment, and the owners estimate 35% of their nearly 60 employees were formerly incarcerated—which can seriously affect one’s odds for employment at most places.
The deep care Erin and Agatha have for their employees as a foundational part of their business shines through in the final product: happy employees make some seriously good pastries. At the soft opening, the counters were piled with chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies, chocolate-caramel brownies and more.
The new store will feature the classic Ovenly menu—the greatest hits—along with a rotating selection of special and seasonal items for customers to discover. Plus, to celebrate their opening, the Williamsburg location is introducing Sugar Rush Hour: for the month of March, customers will be able to stop in every Thursday between 4:30 and 6:30 for a special free treat!
The new Ovenly is located at 43 North 5th Street, near Kent Street, in Williamsburg. Stop by this week for the soft opening, or for the Grand Opening on Saturday, March 3. The store will be open 7:30 am-8:30 pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00 am – 7:00 pm Saturday and Sunday.