Cary News

La Farm Bakery plans to expand to downtown Cary

Fresh Hot Cross Buns await customers at the La Farm Bakery in Cary, N.C.
Fresh Hot Cross Buns await customers at the La Farm Bakery in Cary, N.C. 2014 News & Observer file photo

La Farm Bakery plans to join in downtown Cary’s revitalization efforts, opening a new production bakery later this year to keep up with product demands and give the business more opportunities to grow.

The facility will be operational at 220 W. Chatham St., known as the Sorrell building, by late fall or early winter, said Missy Vatinet, who owns La Farm with her husband, Lionel Vatinet. The husband-and-wife team will follow up with a small retail bakery and café in the same building in 2017.

“We have absolutely loved serving this community and being a part of the Raleigh-Durham market,” Vatinet said. “(Our bakers) put a lot of heart and passion into what they do, besides skill, so to have a community that appreciates what they do, it’s just a great joy.”

The Vatinets opened the popular Cary bakery and café at 4248 NW Cary Parkway in 1999. Today, La Farm produces more than 35 different styles of artisan bread throughout the year for their bakery, area Whole Foods Markets, farmers markets and their bread truck.

Lionel Vatinet also is a two-time semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Baker category.

There will be no changes to their current location with the exception of new breads and pastries.

This is the second expansion the Vatinets have undertaken since opening the business. In 2009, the couple expanded the bakery with a café and bread truck and began selling bread to all five Triangle-area Whole Foods Markets.

But it didn’t take long before they needed even more space.

They have been looking for another chance to expand for several years, Missy Vatinet said, and jumped on the chance to have extra space in a central location within the Raleigh-Durham market. The space will allow them to explore some new opportunities, particularly when it comes to new products, she said.

“We have space limitations now that don’t enable us to do that,” Missy Vatinet said. “Additional space will allow us to explore options for different products and continue to meet our bigger desire of contributing great bread to the community.”

The retail bakery and café space, near the northwest corner of Harrison Avenue and West Chatham Street, will be similar to La Farm’s original location but will allow customers to see bakers in action.

“Because of the current layout, it is difficult for our customers to interact with the bakers,” Missy Vatinet said. “So in this location, we’ll be able to bring sort of the craft and the artsmanship that these bakers do more face forward so that all of us in the community can see and watch and participate in what they do.”

The next phase is to buy the building on West Chatham Street and make some changes to the structure before opening it for production. The fate of the mural on the side of the building, which shows the history of Cary, has yet to be discussed, Missy Vatinet said.

The site also will include about 5,600 square feet of leasable space for future food and beverage retailers, chefs and restaurateurs.

“We are excited about the opportunity to create a relationship with different retailers and individuals within the food service industry and hospitality industry that want to also join the Cary market and what we know is an incredible customer base,” Missy Vatinet said.

The duo will continue to explore other expansion opportunities in the area in the future, but for now, they are looking forward to being downtown, she said. Within the last few years, downtown Cary has welcomed other new business to the area, including The Mayton Inn, Bond Brothers Beer Company, Crosstown Pub and BREW at The Cary.

“La Farm is a Cary small business success story that has achieved national and international recognition and will continue to define Cary’s commitment to local business,” said Ted Boyd, the town’s downtown development manager, in a news release. “Their expansion to downtown will transform a key corner on our main street – Chatham Street – and will be a catalyst for future development.”

Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608, @KTrogdon