INDIANAPOLIS — Taylor's Bakery has been in business since 1913.
Family-owned and operated since its origin, the bakery that serves the Indianapolis and Fishers community has always had a plan of action due to experience.
But even this 107-year-old business couldn't find the answers to questions many store-front owners were searching for during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The honest answer was there just wasn't. There was no playbook," Drew Allen, the owner of Taylor's Bakery, said. "We pride ourselves on 'if this happens, then we're going to do that,' but there was just no playbook, and it was hard because we felt like we were getting mixed messages ... So, we felt it was best to just close down."
A decision many small and big businesses alike had to make — close down or get creative.
After temporarily shutting off the ovens for about a month, Taylor's Bakery has reopened. Yet, it still doesn't have the answers other business-owners may be seeking from the veteran business.
"I would say we had no advantage because (of) being in business longer, just because we'd never seen anything like it," Allen said. "I think this event has caused just a massive change of events."
What Taylor's crew does have, though? A knowledge and passion for the art of baking and realizing what people need or want in hard times.
"People just want a snack right now," Allen said.
Allen and his team of bakers are passionate about baking and consider it art.
That art is given away for free almost every night to Second Helpings. The partnership between Taylor's Bakery and Second Helpings is a big tie into the bakery's community involvement.
This is why it wasn't all that hard when they had to give away dozens of trays full of baked goods when they decided to close down the day before St. Patrick's Day. A holiday that brings in lots of business yearly for Taylor's Bakery.
"They're our biggest partner, and they're fantastic. Not only do they give it to other people, but they'll often manipulate it into another meal," Allen said. "I can't say enough about them. They're awesome."
But it was still hard to see that revenue and business shutter almost instantly.
"In the bakery business, you're working on so much stuff. Recipes that take a day or two to develop ... we have to work ahead a certain amount. It was rough losing St. Patrick's day," Allen said, describing the day he decided to close. "We kept looking at the calendar and saying, 'oh my gosh, what else are we going to miss.' Communions. Easter. Graduations. So it was painful."
"It'll be interesting in a year or two when people go back to normal and completely forget about it if there is a vaccine — I hope so — but we have to plan as though they won't (have a vaccine)," Allen said.
For now, those plans to move forward also include ordering those baked goods ahead of arrival.
"I do think there will be people that will never be comfortable going back to the way it used to be," Allen continued. "I think more people are going to want to place orders... have them paid and come in with the box ready for them. Contact-less ordering is going to be huge."
In that, Allen says ordering ahead will be significant for Taylor's and highly recommends his guests do so.
"We just have no idea on demand right now. You know, four customers or 400? It helps us know what to make," Allen said.
"We can pack their items in a more safe environment instead of them picking out items out front," he said. "That's a huge help right now."
What they're known for: White Cake and Triple Chocolate Ganache Cake
Most sought after right now: Cake donuts and donut holes.
Baker's recommendation: Full line of danishes and coffee cakes
Tuesday - Saturday: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Indy: 6216 Allisonville Road
Fishers: 8395 East 116th Street