New ‘Pitch Night’ winner named

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GREENFIELD — A baker who won a downtown spot for her business in a competition is unable to follow through on her plans, leaving an opportunity for a contest finalist in a similar line of work.

The Butter Chip Bakery won Greenfield “Pitch Night” last July. The contest was held by Greenfield Main Street, the Indiana Small Business Development Center and several other organizations. A panel of judges considered pitches from 17 entrepreneurs vying for a prize package of about

800 square feet of downtown tenant space rent-free for one year; donated business set-up services; and a year of free membership to the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Greenfield Main Street.

Joanie Fitzwater, the city’s planning director and a member of Greenfield Main Street who served as president of the organization throughout last year’s pitch competition, said The Butter Chip Bakery is unable to open the retail store it had been planning in the Randall Building downtown.

Fitzwater said Greenfield Main Street re-awarded the Pitch Night prize to one of the competition’s six finalists, 42 Bakery. The bakery was “very highly scored” in the contest and has continued to work with the Indiana Small Business Development Center, Fitzwater said. She added the business is ready to open a retail space and has been looking for one since the contest.

“They never gave up trying to find a spot,” Fitzwater said.

Lauren Zych of The Butter Chip Bakery did not return a request for comment. She told the Daily Reporter in February that she’d been operating her business out of a shared kitchen in Indianapolis to complete bulk orders and prepare deliveries for Hancock County businesses that sell her goods. She was hoping to open at 9 N. State St. in March.

Fitzwater said the space’s renovations are about complete and it will soon be ready for a certificate of occupancy.

Stacy Franco of 42 Bakery said that she and Jessi Franco, her wife and business partner, were pleasantly surprised and excited to learn that their search for a Greenfield storefront was over.

The Greenfield couple started the business about a year and a half ago. All of the bakery’s goods are gluten free. Within its menu are two product lines — ketogenic or “keto,” a diet that’s low in carbohydrates; and vegan.

Stacy said she has been baking her whole life, ever since her grandmother passed the pastime on to her. She always wanted to have a bakery, but a stretch of her adulthood as a military wife didn’t allow her to settle in one location long enough to start one. Then she discovered she had a gluten allergy and dismissed her dream of becoming a pastry chef, opting instead to become a personal trainer. While in that career, she found her way back to her former aspiration after discovering what she described as a significant need for good-tasting gluten-free, vegan and keto baked goods.

Now she enjoys the best of both worlds.

“I like to make people smile with food and then torture them in the gym,” Stacy said with a laugh.

Since February, 42 Bakery has been operating out of a commercial kitchen in Indianapolis. The business sells its products at a variety of venues, including a co-op, a farmers market and area businesses. Stacy said that while the commercial kitchen has allowed the business to grow significantly, she and Jessi are looking forward to working in the same city in which they live.

The business is waiting on the final go-ahead from the city before moving into the Randall Building, Stacy said. They’re also working on securing funding for a kitchen so they can bake on site. In the meantime, they’ll bring in the baked goods they make at the commercial kitchen they use.