More than a simple bakery


Its amazing that a simple bakery could mean so much.”

That's how one reader, Gillian Price, summed it up in an email to me following our coverage of the sad news that Tait's Bakery had closed.

Amazing, but not entirely unanticipated, since that's the way small communities work.

Gillian prefaced that comment as follows: “I guess what it boils down to is that in this very busy ever changing world there was always Tait's. Tait's: The one constant that connected us to our past and the opportunity to share traditions with future generations.”

A great many of us are not too keen on living in a world in which Brockville does not include Tait's. Over more than a century of existence, it has developed into more than “a simple bakery.”

It became the one place (every town has at least one of them) where the community came together to chat.

Your Timmies will give you some of the best java boosts on the planet, but they are designed to get people in and out the door as quickly as possible. (Could one ever imagine Tait's with a drive-through?)

Starbucks is similarly sublime in its coffee and treats experience, but it is really only a meeting-place for a particular demographic. (Nobody came to Tait's just to borrow the WiFi...)

Tait's was a different place altogether: A place to stay and linger and talk about things that, often, only fellow Brockvillians could understand. In some ways it was a time-warp. You walked into the same place where your parents and grandparents got their morning fix.

And now, a glimmer of hope: Some of those people who do not want a Brockville without a Tait's seem at least interested in talking about a reopening.

One such individual was the author of a second email I received about our Tait's coverage.

If Tait's was that important, it follows that some people would be interested in taking it over.

I am not one to suggest we get our hopes up, since Brockville's hopes have been dashed so often in the past on the economic development front.

Still, this one strikes me as a project that has some prospect of success. The scale of such a business would be far smaller than an industrial investment, for instance, and whoever did step in would have a ready and willing clientele.

Two things would be necessary.

First, whoever were to reopen Tait's would have not only to keep the name, but also the recipes and formulae, whatever it was that made Tait's bread and other products distinctive.

Second, it would need that clientele to remain loyal.

A Bring Back Tait's campaign (I'm thinking of you, DBIA people) might sustain that interest over the long months needed for a rebirth to happen.

And while we are on the subject of such a campaign, I would suggest the following.

At the bottom of the sudden farewell note posted on the Tait's windows (see above) are the words: “Please support your local businesses and keep them alive and well.”

Similarly, when I interviewed DBIA executive director Meghan Plooy the day after the closure, she remarked: “It's another reminder of how important it is to shop at and support local businesses.”

One might quibble with that, of course, because the outpouring of support for Tait's suggests it never lacked people willing to drop by that one particular downtown business.

However, expanding this hypothetical Bring Back Tait's campaign into a Shop Local campaign would certainly be a benefit to the rest of our main core.

So much love, after all, deserves to be spread up and down that business district.