RANDOLPH - Randolph residents are one step closer to having the smell of freshly baked bread filling their downtown.
The Randolph Zoning Board of Appeals met last week to vote on a special-use permit that would allow Jack and Beth Fuller to open a bakery at 137 Main St. According to Zoning Board officials, the review process for special-use permits is used to ensure that businesses are compatible with the area, allow the business owners to talk to all of the necessary people and decide whether or not the business will be able to sustain itself.
The building at 137 Main St. had previously been a consignment store and a dance studio, which is why the zoning variance was required to allow the Fullers to open a commercial bakery in that location. Following the meeting with the Fullers, the Zoning Board voted unanimously in favor of the special-use permit. Tentatively, they are hoping to have the bakery open by the beginning of March.
According to the Fullers, this bakery has been a dream of theirs for more than 20 years.
"We have four children and it wasn't really conceivable to put time and money into something that wouldn't necessarily make it," said Mrs. Fuller. "When you have four little kids at home, the bills take precedence."
"It was something that we never lost sight of, though," added Fuller. "We decided that once the house was paid for and the kids were out of college, we could really take a good look at it again."
In the past, the Fullers had sold homemade bread from their house and Fuller has many fond memories of baking with his grandmother, which is part of what prompted the couple to consider opening up a bakery. One of the specialties at the new bakery will be salt-rising bread, which Fuller says is different from other varieties that one might find because of the way that it's made.
"My salt-rising bread is made the way that it would've been made 150 years ago," he said. "That's the difference, and it's very, very good. People have been really happy with our breads in the past, but there's a buzz in this town about this bakery already."
According to Fuller, he sees bakeries in the downtown areas of other towns as a central hub, one of the reasons that he's happy to be getting closer to opening his own in Randolph.
"Randolph is trying to revitalize and re-energize itself," said Fuller. "If you take a look around at places like Cuba, their bakeries are a center for activity. It's where people meet, where people gossip."
The Fullers aren't planning on any seating in the bakery when it opens, although they will have fresh coffee available for their customers. They are instead planning to focus on getting the products ready for purchase and building their customer base.
"Right now it's all just going to be bread, dessert and pies, but this is going to be a hub of activity for the town," said Fuller. "I don't know anyone that can walk by a bakery or drive by with the windows down and not stop in. People are either going to hit the brakes and pull over or they're going to turn around and come back."