The bakery is a hidden gem off of a winding back road in Chelsea, Michigan, making it a favorite for bicyclists and hikers looking to refuel while exploring the Waterloo State Recreation Area. There are picnic tables on the side where people can eat outside and look at Sugarloaf Lake. Because it is in a rural area, it does not qualify for many relief programs that target neighborhood-based businesses.
Keegan is beloved by many in the Ann Arbor and Chelsea area. Before he pursued his dream of opening The Lakehouse Bakery, he was the Prepared Foods Manager for the People’s Food Co-Op in Kerrytown and a popular recurring instructor for the Ann Arbor District Library (perhaps best known for his signature French macarons), as well as an instructor at Washtenaw Community College along with hands on classes at the bakery.
Keegan opened the bakery with more grit than cash, and he thought the bakery was going to make it through the pandemic, even as the consequences of the pandemic started piling up on his small business: when employees were potentially exposed and had to quarantine, leaving him short-staffed, he put in more hours. The State of Michigan ordered closures and reduced capacity, forcing him to forfeit sales. The tiny retail space inside meant one customer at a time to maintain 6’ distancing, which meant others had to wait outside in the Michigan cold for their whoopie pies, and then many stopped coming. He had PPE costs. Each time, Keegan just dug in, paid himself less, and the whole staff worked harder.
Then two weeks ago, Keegan became very ill and was hospitalized for almost a week. (Not COVID; a liver-related issue.) His doctor says he may not be able to work for months, leaving him completely reliant on his (amazing, super-competent, but small) staff to run the place. The bakery doesn’t have the money to pay someone to replace him. His illness also caused all in-person hands-on classes, private events, and Pizza Weekends to be cancelled, which has been a huge financial loss for the bakery.
I’m asking Keegan’s friends, vendors, and the Chelsea and Ann Arbor business communities to pitch in to help keep The Lakehouse Bakery afloat until Keegan can fully recover and enough people get vaccinated for businesses to reopen. Every donation, in any amount, helps. Thank you! (Please share!)
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