With barren shelves at grocery stores, Northwest Austin restaurants and businesses are stepping up to help customers cook at home

Dream Bakery
Karen Fry, owner of Dream Bakery in Northwest Austin, has sold 4,000 pounds of flour since March 17. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)

Karen Fry, owner of Dream Bakery in Northwest Austin, has sold 4,000 pounds of flour since March 17. (Amy Denney/Community Impact Newspaper)

In the days following the March 17 order from the city of Austin and Travis County prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people, Dream Bakery owner Karen Fry said her business experienced a run of customers cancelling wedding cakes.

“Our revenue dropped almost 80% overnight,” Fry said.

But when Fry looked in her bakery’s walk-in refrigerator, she said the idea to donate some of Dream Bakery’s stocks of butter, eggs, milk and dry ingredients to members of the community popped up in her head, and the company moved forward with it.

“People started asking if they could buy it, and then they asked if they could pay for other peoples’ orders,” Fry said. “We’re still making donations to people in need, but we’re selling flour, butter, sugar, eggs and yeast.”

In the weeks since Dream Bakery put a call out to the community offering to sell its supply of baking ingredients, the business has sold or donated 4,000 pounds of flour, 850 orders of one dozen eggs, 500 cookies, 250 pounds of butter and 75 gallons of milk, according to a post on the company’s Facebook page.

“It’s been overwhelmingly positive and really heartwarming and encouraging,” Fry said. “People have been so generous with us and with our staff members and other members of the community.”

Fry said Dream Bakery is supplied by a grocery supplier who works with local school districts, who are closed throughout mid-April. While many local school districts are providing free meals for students, Fry said her bakery has been able to continue ordering essential kitchen ingredients.

As a result, Dream Bakery will continue to be able to offer groceries for the foreseeable future. Eggs may be hard to come by soon—Fry said the price of eggs has tripled in March—but the community can continue to be able to purchase milk, butter and dry goods from the bakery.

The community response has been so successful, Fry said, that Dream Bakery had to purchase an additional phone line just to handle the incoming orders. Now, Fry encourages customers to submit orders through Dream Bakery’s website.

“It’s been pretty crazy, but we’re really happy that we can fill a need in the community and, at the same, keep our lights on and keep our folks employed,” Fry said.

Dream Bakery will also soon be selling premade cookie dough and bread making kits for customers to easily bake at home, while Fry said the business will focus on posting recipes in the near future to help beginning bakers.

Fry’s business also continues to sell its custom cakes, batches of handmade cookies and tasting boxes filled with samples of the bakery's treats. Orders from Dream Bakery can be picked up curbside.

Cover 3 owner Doug Young, similar to Fry, said he noticed his neighbors were unable to get certain goods from the grocery store—namely meat, eggs and paper products.

In response, the sports bar and restaurant chain now offers grill kits that customers can order on Cover 3’s website. The kits contain steaks to throw on the grill, as well as sides—grilled corn, potatoes and other produce—to cook and serve.

The kits also contain some items that are currently difficult to find at many grocery stores—eggs, toilet paper, paper towels and gallons of milk.

“We just tried to figure out what we can do to help the community and give people something different,” Young said.

The grill kits can be ordered online and picked up curbside at the Cover 3 locations in North Austin and Round Rock, as well as Cover 2 in Northwest Austin. Families can have the grill kits, as well as premade family meal packages, delivered from any of those locations, as well.

“It is just something fun, something different,” Young said. “We’re just trying to figure out a way to keep the doors open and pay some of our people.”
By Iain Oldman
Iain Oldman joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 after spending two years in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he covered Pittsburgh City Council. His byline has appeared in PublicSource, WESA-FM and Scranton-Times Tribune. Iain worked as the reporter for Community Impact Newspaper's flagship Round Rock/Pflugerville/Hutto edition and is now working as the editor for the Northwest Austin edition.


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