Help me open a Bakery: HighlandPark

$20,196 of $52,000 goal

Raised by 111 people in 14 months
My name is Sam Castillo. I am a resident of Highland Park, New Jersey, and an avid baker.

For over 8 years I was a cook/waitress in town at The Dish Cafe. I watched your kids grow up and go off to school, couples that were just going on their first dates—now married with kids, regulars that I was so happy to see and talk with every day. I made some amazing friends, connections for jobs and even met my wife while I was waiting tables at The Dish. My wife, Lucky Jo the carpenter, has worked in many of your homes throughout town and probably knows more people than I do now.


When I started working at a larger company, I felt less connected to the community and all the people I had grown to know over the years. One of the things I love about Highland Park is that it is a town of Neighbors.

And as one of your Neighbors I would like to give the town something that it has been missing, a small hometown bakeshop, The Cook & The Carpenter Bakeshop.

People always say ‘do what you love’ and the thing I have always loved is baking.


I was trained as a scratch baker in high school and landed a job as a baker and pastry chef in a big hotel, then baked my way right into a college degree at Rutgers. I would even bake on days I should have been studying for finals!

After a number of years in the corporate world I have found myself at a crossroads: I could continue to sit at a desk where I would just do a job
I can open a bakeshop right here in the town which I have called home for over 20 years.

I have put together a business plan, found a location and started buying equipment. Unfortunately, as a ‘start-up’ the bank will not lend to me because I have no actual record of making money as a baker.
And even though I assured them that I make pretty good bread and I am kind of adorable, "No Go!"

It has been said that it takes a village…
Well, I believe it may take a borough to help build The Cook & The Carpenter Bakeshop.

So I am coming to you out there in my community to ask for donations to help bring The Cook & The Carpenter Bakeshop to life!

I have set a financial goal for equipment (oven, refrigerator, freezer, mixer, storage, etc), refurbishment of the space on the main street through town (construction, electrical, plumbing), as well as rent for one year. One of the things I’ve learned working in town for a number of years—it doesn’t matter how good your product is, if you cannot pay your rent, you will go out of business.

I have been testing my breads and pies with local friends for months now and all have said the same thing—When are you opening a shop?

I intend to get The Cook & The Carpenter Bakeshop up and running by September 2018, right in time for returning students and professors.

The plan is to sell artisan breads, small hand pies and some pastries.

So all of you friends and neighbors out there, please send this link to people you know, people who are interested in beautiful artisan breads made by a member of your own community that will be mixed, baked and sold directly from a local storefront.

I want to bring back the idea of a hometown bakery where people can walk into The Cook & The Carpenter Bakeshop, grab a loaf of freshly baked bread, take it back to their dinner tables and share a bit of baked goodness.

Visit the website to see a little more about us.

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Hi Folks—
So close I can almost taste it.
Actually I have been tasting it and will be occasionally for the next two weeks.
We have finished the major work inside the shop, passed all our inspections and were given the ok to open the doors.
So we are setting November 14 to be opening day and we will have a grand opening event on Saturday November 24th at 6pm, possibly with the mayor.
We want to reach out to everyone who gave to the campaign and has supported us over the last few months. Your support and knowing that at least we will have a few people showing up to buy bread warms my heart.
We also launched the new webpage for the Bakeshop:

And finally, during the next couple of weeks before we officially open the doors, we will be in the Bakeshop testing recipes and the ovens, we will have a plethora of baked goodies to distribute. I will send out something on social media or via text when we have some bread to share.

Thanks for all the love— the adventure is just beginning!

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Hello Bread Lovers

It has been some time since we have sent an update – we’ve been busy working on building out the Bakeshop.

The front of the house is almost done. Jo has channeled all the creativity and attention to detail she normally uses in her carpentry work to build out a beautiful retail space.

The ovens were calibrated last week and the plumbing inspection is in the near future.

We have had many friends volunteer their time and energy to help create the space - everything from pulling apart pallets to painting switch plate covers, staining wood, sanding boards, and cleaning out refrigerators. We are eternally grateful for their help.

We are so grateful for your past support. If you know anyone looking to put their pennies somewhere, we are still accepting donations - especially after we got the estimate to repair the bread slicer.

We will be opening the doors in just a couple of weeks. The smell of fresh bread will be in the air before you know it!

Please visit our website for photos and detailed progress notes. Thanks again to everyone for helping make this possible.

With Love,
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Hi to all those bread lovers out there!

So here is where we stand:
Paint is on the walls,
Equipment is being delivered,
The Carpenter is doing her part,
Bread is on the way!

As far as the campaign goes—
We have been raising money,
We have raised a good deal of money,
We don’t quite have enough money,
But we are going to make this happen anyway!
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Coming Soon!

We have started working on the new space. Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of where we are going.
Please check in with the website, Facebook or Instagram to see more progress shots.
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$20,196 of $52,000 goal

Raised by 111 people in 14 months
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