The Tattered Apron Bakery has announced it is closing permanently.
The business operates a bakery in South Hill and satellite retail location in downtown Puyallup. The South Hill bakery will be open 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday for a last day of business, but the downtown location already is shuttered.
Jessica and Brian Duggan founded the business as a small side business making lattice-topped pies at a commercial kitchen. They sold the pies on the weekends at local farmers markets.
They found instant success with diners craving home-baked goods using old fashioned ingredients and techniques. Duggan was taught to bake by her grandmother and insisted on using what her grandma did: local fruit and berries for pie filling, real butter for the crust, no artificial flavors or preservatives.
The Duggans began selling those old fashioned pies and other baked goods in 2014. They microfocused on an assortment of pies, cookies and crumble bars.
By the summer of 2015, she expanded to multiple farmers markets.
In 2016, they opened her South Hill bakery, with the Puyallup location opening in 2017. The bakery expanded its offerings to cake, cinnamon rolls, Danish, scones, muffins, brownies, giant cookies and a wide selection of pastries.
The reason for the closure is financial.
Expanding too quickly put a strain on the business and family.
“We grew too fast,” said Jessica Duggan in a phone interview. “We did everything that a new business shouldn’t do.”
She added, “We had so many irons in the fire. ... We thought that was great, then we thought we had to figure out how to handle it.”
The profit margins were generous in the early days, which led to a fast expansion and a high-interest loan to add kitchen equipment that would continue the bakery’s expansion.
Then business slowed as the expansion unfolded.
“In the end, we had this great thing,” she said. “I don’t mind telling people we didn’t know how to handle all the growth and we bit off more than we can chew. In the end, we had this beautiful thing we didn’t know how to manage.”
What’s next for the Duggans is to dissolve the Tattered Apron name and business. After they work through the financial and other issues of closing the business, the plan is to return to what they did in the beginning.
They’ll bake pies and cookies and sell them at local farmers market. “We’ll focus on having more fun with it. More interesting flavors, artisan cookies and pretty much that’s it. I’ll be taking special orders, too.”
The Duggans are not yet sure what they’ll call the scaled-back bakery.
Employees were informed last week about the closure.
Duggan said the family is keeping a positive focus on what is a disappointing setback.
“I don’t know how to feel exactly, but you know what? This isn’t the worst thing in the world. I have a home. I have a family. I have experience and people who love me. It could be a lot worse.”
The Tattered Apron Bakery
South Hill: 14207 Meridian Ave. E., Puyallup; 253-845-4365; facebook.com/thetatteredapron