The demand for sugary treats and comfort foods during the lockdown and reopening of the pandemic has prompted Jessica Deshiro to rethink what she can handle and what matters most at the end of the day: “Satisfied customers and coming home at home with my family. “
âI think people underestimate the demands of professional bakery,â said Deshiro, owner of Mammy’s Bakery in Wiscasset Village.
As a single mother of four, the business owner said the constant demand, customer expectations and morning baking preparation has worn her down.
âWe’re all exhausted,â Deshiro said, speaking on behalf of his colleagues and small business owners.
So, to cope, Deshiro will switch from a wide selection of American-Italian desserts to a more manageable selection of authentic Italian desserts and entrees, using local ingredients and recipes handed down from generation to generation.
Classic Italian pastries, like tiramisu, lemon squares, biscotti, cannoli, lobster tails, and chocolate chip cookies, aren’t going anywhere.
And Deshiro will continue to offer specialty orders for weddings and events, “but not the three tier wedding cakes,” she said.
In fact, there will be a greater supply of selected homemade pastries and entrees like lasagna, tortellini and eggplant parmesan available throughout the day.
âI joke with the customers and tell them that we are not Panera Bread, we are a small batch. When we run out of 10 servings of eggplant parm, we are away for the day, âDeshiro said.
When Deshiro opened Mammy’s Bakery in Wiscasset Village three years ago, she planned to make fresh pasta recipes every day, a base for a variety of sauces and vegetables.
She planned to decorate the front of the bakery with tables from her family home.
But rolling, filling, and shaping the dough into different pasta dishes each morning has proven difficult, amid staff training, adjusting to pandemic guidelines, growing customer demand, and increasing customer demand. decreasing fresh ingredient supply chain.
Counter displays and baking crates increased as customers demanded more baked goods.
âIt’s easy to make 10 batches of brownies, but that’s not the point of Mammy’s,â Deshiro said.
With a larger offer of selected baked goods, Deshiro will be able to focus on preparing take-out pasta dishes, sandwiches, cold cuts, eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, soups and other entrees.
She will be selling cold cuts and cheeses from Boar’s Head, one of the favorite places for members of her American-Italian family.
To support the cost of its prime location, Deshiro will begin wholesale distribution of its entrees and pastries to convenience stores in Newcastle, Damariscotta and Bristol. She decided to close the store on Tuesday and Sunday to allow time for wholesale distribution.
âI’d rather be known for what we’re good at than be mediocre,â Deshiro said.
His chalkboard menu now reads, âWhat we have is what you see. You get what you get and you don’t get angry.
The sad reality is that some customers have emerged from pandemic shutdowns with demanding attitudes and unrealistic expectations.
âWe will always love our customers and the community, but the pandemic has created this sense of entitlement and demand among customers,â she said.
During the busiest hours of the day, customers may storm in and complain about the limited supply of chocolate chip cookies or cannolis.
âIt’s not right for business owners to take more of it,â Deshiro said.
Like many business owners, she has also been busy adjusting to staff changes.
Deshiro will be looking for someone to replace Liz Pope, “The Glue of the Bakery,” when Pope returns to teaching this fall.
In the rare moments Deshiro has for herself at the bakery, she reflects on the realities of her job and why she started the business: to channel the recipes created by her grandmother, Mary-Lou Deshiro , or Mammy, as Jessica calls her.
Mary-Lou suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, which prompted her granddaughter to start selling baked goods on Alzheimer’s Walks, where she learned she could raise awareness through the power of pastries.
Since opening, Deshiro has kept a donation jar on the counter and gives customers more information about Alzheimer’s disease if they want to learn more.
Now she is using the power of pastries to raise awareness and fundraise for the prevention of child abuse and families struggling to put food on the table.
The death of four-year-old Kendall Chick in 2017 sparked an emergency at Deshiro to use his business as a platform for social advocacy.
Before the pandemic, Deshiro launched a fundraiser for families in need of free meals. Several people donate to the fundraiser each week.
âAs a single mom of four, I know how stressful it can be to be stuck at home or trying to make ends meet at work,â Deshiro said.
By adjusting her inventory, reducing her working hours and giving herself time for reflection, Deshiro can raise awareness of social causes.
âHelping make an impact is so important in today’s world,â Deshiro said. âI will always see my business as a platform for social awareness. “
Mammy’s Bakery, located at 100 Main Street in the village of Wiscasset, is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Monday. For more information call 504-4104 or go to mammysbakerymaine.com.