Flour & Water Co.
Meredith Norris, co-owner of the Flour & Water Co. in Woodstock, knows you can’t make bread with flour and water alone — it requires yeast. To help her growing business expand, Meredith consulted the Laurel Ridge SBDC to add the missing ingredient to the mix: SBDC resources.
“In two years’ time, our business had taken off,” Meredith relates. “We needed information on expansion and decided to try the SBDC.”
Meredith’s idea for the artisan bakery in Woodstock began with a 2018 trip to Ireland where she and her sister, Paje Cross, became “enamored with” a local establishment on The Emerald Isle. The sisters made business plans on the way home to Woodstock. Their third partner, Jacoby Ginges, soon joined them in the venture.
“We’d all been involved in food service of some description,” Meredith adds.
The partners tested their bakery idea with three pop-up shops, which sold out every time. Early in 2020 they started searching for a building — only to be interrupted by the pandemic.
“We decided to wait, which turned out to our advantage,” Meredith says. “We bought a building at auction, and after renovations, opened in December 2020.”
Despite pandemic obstacles, Flour & Water Company rose to the occasion. In their first year of operation, the baking partners nearly tripled their projected revenue.
As the company eyed expansion, an acquaintance suggested a visit to Laurel Ridge SBDC Director Christine Kriz, who advised them to take the SBDC-sponsored Cureate Course. The six-week course for food and beverage producers gives advice on scaling existing business operations and next steps for strategic growth.
“The Cureate course was monumentally helpful to us,” Meredith notes. “SBDC resources have offered us a wealth of knowledge.”
That knowledge, Meredith affirms, yields dividends.
“We started with three employees, and two years in, we have 16,” Meredith says. “Year over year, we’ve grown 25 percent, and we’re moving ahead with our expansion plan. The SBDC is already helping with that.”
She advises other business owners to take advantage of all the SBDC has to offer.
“The SBDC provides a wonderful service,” she concludes. “It only makes sense to use it.”