Giving back to those with a passion for running is what one particular bread company set out to do.
In 2012, the Montclair Bread Company opened. Currently located at 16 Label Street, owner Rachel Wyman quickly established a strong customer base. Part of the base is comprised of runners, that she has kept happy through the years by fueling them with her own special brand of breads and doughnuts offered at the bakery.
“I actually starting making doughnuts every Sunday, about six months after I opened. As their popularity grew, I expanded to daily doughnuts and I’ve been making them ever since,” said Wyman, adding that she has continually offered the runners, also known as the “Fueled By Doughnuts” running club, them as an incentive to finish up their morning run at the bakery.
The club has prompted Wyman, a 38-year-old mother of three, to become an avid runner herself in recent years by taking part in several marathons. As a way of saying thanks and giving back, she created the 5K Doughnut Run, with her running buddy, Gina Imperato, which starts and ends right outside her bakery where they usually meet. The annual run kicked off in 2014, and has become very popular with the local community. Wyman ultimately joined the run herself, causing her to get into the best shape of her life by losing a total of 65 pounds.
“I ran so I didn’t have to change my diet and I could keep eating doughnuts,” she confessed. “Doughnuts just make people happy.”
Wyman believes individuals who exercise still need to indulge themselves at times, which is why she offers her doughnuts at the finish line as a fun incentive. Recently, she also coordinated a trail race, with Wayne Pacconi, which features a 10-mile “Sugar Rush,” 20 mile ‘”Trail Glazer” and a 50K “Cruller Crawl” at Watchung Reservation, which will be held on Sept. 22. Additionally, she created the annual Oktoberfest Run. In its third year, it includes five stops highlighting five local breweries and culminates with pretzels & bratwurst at Montclair Bread Company.
With over 1,600 members, four weekly group runs, and several annual events, the running club began to outgrow the bakery’s space, so Wyman felt the time was right for a new home. Partnering with a former college athlete and sponsored runner, Brad Barket, they recently kicked off the Montclair Running Company, a community clubhouse that caters to runners of all levels, located across the street from the Montclair Bread Company.
According to Wyman, the store, located at 103 Forest Street is currently under construction. Once complete, it will have locker rooms with showers, including amenities to refresh post runs. It will also include a retail area stocked with innovative running apparel and nutritional supplies for runners. Wyman is hosting a pop up shop with new apparel brought in for the fall on September 21st from 5-8 pm.
“When the club started to outgrow the bakery, and a space opened up right next door, it seemed like the perfect new home for Fueled by Doughnuts!” she added. “This will be a mecca for runners to gather – to share their experiences and stories. In our new collaborative space, the Montclair Bread Company and the Fueled by Doughnuts running club will continue to play a huge role in the community.”
According to Wyman, a modified version of the new space is slated to open by Oct. 1. The entire renovation will be complete by the 5K Doughnut Run on Dec. 9, which is already sold out, with 2,500 adults signed up and 250 kids also taking part.