NEWTON, NJ— Between the Bread, owned by 22 year old, Newton High School graduate, Erin Louglas, celebrated on Saturday, January 13. It was two years since the doors first opened.
This little cafe has thrived, despite 70 percent of Newton’s Spring Street filled with vacant store fronts, according to Newton Town Council when a business development plan was discussed.
Louglas started Between The Bread because it was the “perfect opportunity to bring my love for cooking and my love for our community together. I believe that as a young female entrepreneur, I can inspire and empower many other women to do exactly what I've done. I was just 20 and I have the time and energy to fully commit to my restaurant unlike if I had waited until the ‘perfect time,’” she said.
In an interview with Louglas, she shared her motivation for opening the store.
“Between The Bread came about in September of 2015 when I attended the Taste of Newton. I noticed the amount of empty storefronts and I flashed back to when I was a kid and we'd shop and eat on Spring Street on the weekends. I always knew Newton had potential, especially Spring Street. I met Andre and Tracey DeWaal who owned Andre's and we got to chat and talk about how they moved to Sparta.
"I just saw it as the most perfect opportunity. The restaurant was move-in ready. I was fresh out of getting my associates degree at SCCC and I didn't have a solid plan for what I was going do next. Plus, I knew I could cook well and I knew there wasn't going to be this great of an opportunity for a long while. I went home and told my family about my idea, thinking they would tell me I'm crazy. Instead, they were so supportive and told me to go for it. We opened the following January of 2016.”
Louglas expressed her feelings going into the third year with the business as needing to focus more on combining consistency with creativity, continuing and expanding her use of local businesses and local products and just cooking delicious food.
“There are always things that need to be worked on and all we can do is work as a team to strengthen our weaknesses and keep being the community staple that I believe we are,” she said.
The shop has won the Taste of Newton "People's Choice" two years in a row, as well as the award for "Best New Business of 2016" for the Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce and The NJ Herald Contest. Louglas has also recently won the Newton Chamber's 2017 "Don Meng Volunteer Award" for all of the things she has done for the community.
Between the Bread is both a sit down/take-out café as well as a catering service. Louglas is looking to expand the catering aspect of the business, as well as getting more into the baking aspect of the business.
She says she wants to put in a baking room in the back kitchen area to begin doing cakes and cupcakes, as well as get more involved with the public schools by doing more fundraisers as she is a Newton Alumni.
“I believe every day is a new experience and a new learning opportunity. Some days it's too busy to handle and we have an hour wait for tables, so it's stressful but it's a good kind of stressful. It's the days that I have 4 catering orders and I'm at work until 2:00 in the morning followed by a 14 hour work day that I'm just begging for a break. But that's the thing with small business. You have to do everything on your own for a long time to ensure success. So to me, I suppose that's an up and a down because I'm exhausted but I'm succeeding. But if my biggest problem is being tired, I will take it!” she said.
The shop had their 2-year Anniversary Bash on Saturday, January 13 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and offered 25 percent off breakfast, two-for-$20 lunch specials, along with special giveaways all day long. Louglas said it was non-stop going all day.
Some of the comments given by the patrons attending the bash included:
“We eat here all the time and we love the food and the service is great. We come here for all our birthdays. You just can’t find good farm to table food around Sussex County.”
“It’s really a family environment here. My daughter practically grew up in this café and she makes friends every time we come here. The food is great and the service is just so family-oriented.”
Two of the four couples told TAPinto Newton that this was not their first time eating at Between the Bread, one family said they come here at least two if not more times a week, and one couple was trying it for the first time as they received a gift certificate for Christmas, but had heard only good comments about the shop.
“To wrap it all up,” she said, “owning the restaurant isn't only about cooking and feeding people. It's about bringing my family, my friends, staff and our customers all together to celebrate specials moments in our lives. Every day there is something special going on at BTB whether it is an anniversary, a birthday, a baby shower, an engagement or just a first date - we love to be a part of all of those special moments. I think it might be my favorite part - that we get to be part of everyone's life events.”
“They tell me the first two years are the hardest. With all of the people who doubted me, my ideas and my plans, I think it's pretty amazing that we've overcome all the roadblocks and obstacles that have come our way. Being a young woman in business alone is very difficult. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't take a 22 year old seriously, but I think I'm getting to a point where I'm confident enough in myself and Between The Bread - we've made a name for ourselves. We are genuinely supported by the community and that's a reward in itself.”
Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox.