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Laundry Money

Side Dishes: Trying to kick-start a Vergennes bakery

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If you want to open a bakery in Vermont, telling future customers you’ve worked with Gérard Rubaud seems like a good sales pitch, since the crusty Frenchman is renowned for his artisan loaves.

Julianne Jones of Vergennes is one of the few people who can claim that honor. Now the 25-year-old baker is getting ready to open a brick-oven-fired bakery, espresso bar and cheese shop called Vergennes Laundry in Vermont’s smallest city.

“It’s mostly bread and pastries with some lunch items,” Jones explains. Quiche, cheese plates, pain au chocolat and macarons are on the menu, as is Vadeboncoeur nougat handmade by Jones’ fiancé, Didier Murat.

But until she gets some cash, Jones can’t begin building the Scandinavian-style oven. That’s why the entrepreneur has turned to a website called Kickstarter.com. There, friends and strangers can commit to pledges of $10 or more and, as in a PBS fund drive, earn rewards of gifts commensurate with their contributions. The kicker? If a biz doesn’t reach its goal by a preordained deadline, nobody pays.

“It’s been 10 days, and there is about $1000 pledged so far,” Jones notes. Is she worried about meeting her goal of $12,000 by the August 5 deadline? She says no.

If the money arrives, it will take about a month to build the oven, and Vergennes Laundry will open in mid-September. “The community is being so supportive,” Jones says. “We’re hoping to create a destination kind of place.”

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