Richmond’s Favorite Biscuit Baker
By Stephanie Breijo
Tim Laxton stands in a sunny bakery in Central Virginia. Surrounded by cheerful yellow walls, he rolls out another sheet of dough as old-time music meanders out of a vintage radio. Cut into large white squares, the dough resembles fluffy, homemade marshmallows. But the diehard fans of Early Bird Biscuit Co. know better — once these sizeable treats spend some time in the oven, they’ll become Laxton’s trademark biscuits: the reason a line forms out the small bakery’s door nearly every day of the week.
Early Bird sells more than just its array of biscuits — you can find biscuit sandwiches, pies, pastries and custom orders there—but when it came to building the business, Laxton knew it was crucial to master just a handful of items and remain involved every step of the way.
It’s diligence in preparation that led this home cook to one of the most successful bakeries in the area, and though Laxton reached his small business by way of his own swimming pool company and a position in corporate sales, he says he’d always wanted to open a restaurant. When he saw the small space for rent, he knew, at 48 years old, it was finally time. Laxton transformed the charming 725-square-foot spot into a sunny, bright bakery where he uses his great-grandfather’s own rolling pin, and staffs a small team of bakers to conceptualize and bake new biscuit flavors and pastries alongside him. Of course, he still works from home on occasion.
“On a Sunday you’ll find me working from home in my den, on the floor because I’m not a desk kind of person, with my iPad and all of my bills,” he laughs. Part of being a small business owner is still in the details, no matter how successful your bakery is: menu planning, payroll, and taxes.
So when all is said and done, what’s the biggest benefit to owning your own bakery? According to Laxton, it’s creativity and the relationship you can build with customers. “The customers are — and I will never lose sight of this — the reason that we’re here, and I like that we can develop a relationship with every single face that walks into this bakery,” he says. “We’ve gotten to know a lot of people on deeply personal levels.” Visit http://www.earlybirdbiscuit.com/. HBM
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