It’s a joy to see your smiling faces again, and we can’t wait for what is to come.

Over the past year, we implemented numerous changes at our cafes as we adapted to COVID-19 pandemic developments in an effort to maintain the safety of our communities, guests, and staff. The most obvious changes included social distancing and masking protocols, transitioning to order windows instead of indoor dining, and serving drinks in exclusively to-go cups. As we continue to evolve our operations, we wanted to share some less apparent changes made behind the scenes of our Indiana, PA-based bakery.

Here at Commonplace, we believe a great cup of coffee is rarely complete without a flavorful and fresh-baked treat to complement it. To show you the Craft and Care that goes into our process, we had a chat with Head Baker Cari Meil, who shared how she and her team innovated to keep up with operational updates and ever-changing pandemic-related challenges while continuing to provide your favorite sweet and savory baked goods.How did the pandemic affect bakery operations?


To plan and follow COVID-19 guidelines, we closed in mid-March. When we started back after reopening, things began slowly, and we only offered our staples, such as chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins, and coffee cake.


We also pivoted towards pantry items that our customers could enjoy from the comfort of their homes. As the shops slowly reopened and got into a rhythm of the new normal, we started to add many of our original items back, as well as some new ones!


What was the inspiration behind some of our unique new bulk items, such as the Thanksgiving pies, Craft and Care Packages, and holiday cookie tins?


In many ways, creating these products allowed us to be more creative and work on items that we don’t make on a regular basis. We were also focusing, as a company, on community.


These items helped us find new ways to celebrate with our customers and friends. Craft and Care Packages allowed our customers to get some of their favorite Commonplace items, share with their families, and send a thoughtful gift to friends they care about.


How did you decide on what items would be included in the Commonplace Pantry?


While hunkering down with my own family, I thought about what might be nice to have at home. We considered what might be tricky to get at the store, like flour and eggs, and created more unique versions that would be a little different from what was available at the grocery store. For example, we baked challah instead of standard bread loaves. The goal was to create a one-stop shopping experience and heavily feature local goods.


Tell us about the new items like salads, deli sandwiches, and breakfast sandwiches. What inspired them? What is your process for creating these new offerings?


Our new items have come from many places. Some were ideas we’ve had at the bakery, others have been suggestions from Commonplace managers, and some have come from the hours I spend reading cookbooks, magazines, and blogs.


When we have an idea, our team dissects it until we arrive at a place of agreement. It’s not a linear process, and it takes time to tweak and change flavors or build the most streamlined process for production.

Thanks to Cari’s strong and creative leadership and the execution by her amazingly talented team, we have been able to not only maintain our existing menu, but also expand it to develop new guest favorites, like the Veggie Breakfast Sandwich and Chicken Shawarma Salad.In addition to these instant classics, keep your eyes peeled for an exciting new seasonal bakery series that will rotate every Wednesday! These treats, featuring flavors like rhubarb, sumac, and lime, will take full advantage of the fresh flavors of summer. View our Instagram & Facebook stories for bakery flavor updates throughout the week!

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