Lincoln Avenue Bakery owner Don Reilly is asking the community for help.
Reilly — owner and founder of LAB, originally known as Brittany’s Butters and Gourmet Bakery — is hoping to raise $50,000 to offset the new storefront’s financial struggles following a surprise funding change, he said.
After opening the bakery in January at 544 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, Reilly said he began to face financial challenges and could not keep up with daily operational costs.
“For us to be back at an ideal comfort level, I would give it until the end of September before our panic button needs to be hit,” Reilly said.
Reilly said the bakery’s original name misled potential customers who thought the store solely sold butters. After running a booth at the Winnetka Music Festival in late June, when several customers were surprised to learn that the shop sold baked goods, Reilly changed the name to Lincoln Avenue Bakery on June 18. New signage followed a few days later.
Additionally, LAB expanded its menu to include cinnamon rolls, fresh breads, specialty cakes, cupcakes and brownies after the name change. Reilly said he also hopes to add off-premise catering opportunities.
While other Winnetka restaurants offer baked goods, LAB is the only shop in town that is a dedicated bakery.
“What makes us a really good bakery is everything is homemade and made from scratch,” Reilly said.
Reilly sells around 75-100 biscuits at the Winnetka Farmers Market every Saturday. He is currently offering buttermilk, garlic parmesan and cheddar biscuits.
Reilly started a GoFundMe page two months ago and opened it up to the public two weeks ago. He has raised $2,000 toward his $50,000 goal, he said.
He said most donations so far have come from his regular customers.
He said the funds raised will primarily cover the costs of current and overdue utility bills and outstanding payments to purveyors. The GoFundMe page also says funds will go to meeting government requirements, increasing staff, marketing and promoting the business, managing supply and inventory, and purchasing equipment.
He said he would ideally like to allocate more funds to promoting the business, which has a website that is currently under construction due to the name change and new offerings.
Reilly plans to post an update on the GoFundMe page in the near future to elaborate on what the donations will be funding.
He expressed gratitude for those who have donated and remains optimistic about the future.
“For me to say I need the money now or I’m done is a foolish thing to say,” Reilly said. “It’s not that simple and you’d need to drag me out by my feet.”
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Rosie Newmark is a 2023 Record intern and an incoming senior studying journalism and history at Northwestern University. Rosie has written for multiple campus publications in addition to the Hyde Park Herald and American Libraries Magazine.