By Erin McNelis

Photo Courtesy of Bake Ability

Being a small business owner is a challenge and a labor of love in normal times. The pandemic has amplified both aspects of business ownership. These Bucks County entrepreneurs are succeeding and thriving through their grit, determination, and love for their communities. Several businesses have opened recently, including several food establishments, a bakery with a unique mission, and what its owners call, “a boutique version of an arts festival.”

That business, The Mercantile, is an all-encompassing mis of shops by local artists and artisans. “You can shop, take a class, watch a demonstration, listen to music group, taste and drink, all under one roof,” says co-founder Ashara Shapiro. Shapiro is also an owner and artist at the design firm A Recherche. Special accommodations had to be made to make their business a reality during the pandemic.

“We specifically designed our business model and layouts keeping in mind social distancing requirements,” says co-founder Brooke Henningsen. Henningsen is also a co-founding partner of Arrow Read Estate Services.

They created a centralized check-out area so vendors don’t have to be constantly present like they would at a traditional art festival. “The silver lining of this time is that a space to support makers, artists, and small businesses is needed now more than ever,” says Shapiro. “It filled a void in the community for both artists and consumers,” added Henningsen.

The owners of The Mercantile come from two different backgrounds that helped them navigate the shifting guidelines of the pandemic with flexibility and sensitivity to the needs of their vendors.

“We specifically designed our business model and layouts keeping in mind social distancing requirements,”

Co-founder Brooke Henningsen

Photo Courtesy Le Macaron French Pastries

Photo Courtesy Bake Ability

New Business Round Up

The Mercantile at Doylestown
444 N. Main St., Doylestown
(484) 439-4588

www.mercantiledoylestown.com

Le Macaron French Pastries
4 W. Oakland Ave., Doylestown
(267) 454-7193

https://lemacaron-us.com/

Bake Ability
4950 York Road, Holicong
(215) 315-8560

www.bakeabilities.com

La Casita Mia
50 S. Main St., Doylestown

Hickory Stick Ice Cream
4950 York Road, Buckingham
(215) 794-2122

Gran Rodeo Warrington
1500 N. Main St., Warrington
Granrodeobarandgrill.com

Tea Has Company in Doylestown

Louise Lee, owner of Le Macaron French Pastries in Doylestown, drew on her experience in the corporate world, but also on her childhood in Montreal, Canada. When she found the franchise opportunity for Le Macaron, it was the perfect match. “The offerings were so reminiscent of the patisserie that I was accustomed to in Canada,” says Lee. “You don’t really see French pastries here, and it filled that gap.”

The place offers macaron, which Lee calls the perfect pastry. “People love it. It’s decadent and unlike other pastries, the recipe is originally gluten-free, so it hasn’t been changed to make it so.” They also offer gelato in original flavors you can’t get anywhere else, as well as other pastries made by French pastry chef Didier Baba.

Lee, along with her husband Steve, began the process of opening the franchise before the pandemic. “We signed the lease before the pandemic began, and planned to open in May,” says Lee. But that didn’t happen. They were on pause for a while when things were shut down but were able to finally open their doors November 5, 2020.

Le Macaron is the perfect “getaway” in a time when we can’t really get away. The atmosphere is uplifting, cheerful, and happy, which is exactly what everyone needs right now. “Patrons can escape the day-to-day and feel like they are in Paris,” says Lee. “There are no pastries like French pastries.”

Baking With Heart

Another place to find sweet treats is Bake Ability. The bakery serves baked goods baked by individuals with different abilities who are mentored by professional bakers. They are afforded the opportunity by this new business to learn, grow, and serve the community. As Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease, the business will also house a teaching facility to hold community cooking classes.

Their items are hand-baked with love and can be bought on-sight. Cakes and other items for special events should be ordered at least two weeks in advance.

More New Merchants…

La Casita Mia is a new boutique food and art shop that serves artisan food alongside designs from around the world. Housed in the historic Hargrave building in Doylestown, it is the perfect place to broaden horizons and find a unique gift.

As the weather warms, the occasion may call for ice cream. Hickory Stick Ice Cream has opened a second location in the Buckingham Green Shopping Center. They serve hand dipped ice cream, soft serve ice cream, milk shakes, sundaes, pastries, and Stock’s famous pound cake. They also offer ice cream cakes, pies, and water ice.

Gran Rodeo will open a new location this April in Warrington to complement the Montgomeryville location. The family owned and operated business offers a variety of authentic Mexican food and drinks from quesadillas to street tacos, from fresh margaritas to fried ice cream. They also offer catering for special events. Gluten-free and vegetarian options are available as well.

We at Happenings Media with the best of luck to these new businesses and ALL of our local businesses during these trying times.

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