From sour to sweet, how Amy Edelman, owner of Night Kitchen Bakery in Chestnut Hill kept the ovens on during the COVID-19 pandemic
Without a PPP loan in July, the neighborhood bakery would look very different than it does today.
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Amy Edelman always knew in her heart that she was going to be a baker, even when she went to school to become a chef.
“After I graduated culinary school, I had a catering business from 1995 to 2000, we would buy our cakes and pastries from the Night Kitchen, when I heard that the owner was looking to sell it, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity,” Edelman said.
Edelman knew that being a baker was her calling, and her passion came from creating delectable treats for her customers.
Night Kitchen Bakery in Chestnut Hill has an assortment of baked goods, like award-winning brownies and dark chocolate-covered cake.
Pre-pandemic, customers would line up waiting for the store to open.
In addition to gaining new customers, there were also many that still kept coming from the previous owners.
“I love my bakery, it’s really great to know the customers, I know a lot of people who have been coming to the bakery since before I bought it, I didn’t want to let them down,” she said.
It also helped that Edelman grew up in Mt. Airy, and she knew all of the customers that have been coming since the ’80s — constituting multiple generations that grew up going to Night Kitchen Bakery.
But when COVID-19 hit, business stopped.
“It was very devastating that we had to close down in March, which is one of our busiest times because we have Easter, weddings, and baby showers, no one can have big events, so we took a big hit on that,” said Edelman.
The bakery, which would be up and running every day from 8 a.m. until the late afternoon, suddenly had to close down for three months, until the government gave the okay in June of 2020 for some non-essential businesses to reopen.
“Pastries and cakes are visual things, people want to see what they’re about to purchase, so it really impacted sales negatively for those three months until we were allowed to bring customers back,” she said.
Edelman believed that if it weren’t for the first round of PPP loans that she received, she wouldn’t know what her business would be like now.
“I am very grateful for the PPP loans, even though it was delayed, the loan did help,” she said.
When the pandemic hit, Edelman had to lay off three-quarters of her staff, but eventually, they were able to come back at the beginning of July.
“It was great to bring everyone back, I had to wait until July when I received the PPP loan, so that was super helpful,” she said.
Still, the road ahead is a long one, as business still hasn’t returned back to former glory.
“It’s going to go on a year, and still about 25% of our business is still gone, since no one is having big parties, most of the big cakes that we used to make are not selling as well,” said Edelman.
The business started picking up again in late summer, which couldn’t have come at a better time because people started to feel comfortable going outside, which meant her loyal customers would pay a visit to the bakery.
“It was very comforting to see those familiar faces come back into the bakery, it wasn’t the same as before the pandemic, but I’m certainly happy that everything is falling back into place,” said Edelman.
Slowly but surely, Night Kitchen Bakery and others are regaining their footing.
To support small businesses like Amy’s, please take a trip to Chestnut Hill and stop by Night Kitchen Bakery for a slice of lemon curd cake with cream cheese frosting and an iced brownie, which has a layer of buttercream frosting, chocolate ganache, and drizzled white chocolate on top.