Union Loafers will open new bread shop with Union Studio in Botanical Heights in spring 2023
Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery is teaming up with Union Studio on a new project that will see both businesses open new ventures in spring 2023 at 1532 Tower Grove Ave. in Botanical Heights. Union Studio will relocate its existing Tower Grove Avenue store to the new space, which will also house the new Union Loafers Bread Shop.
Union Loafers Bread Shop will be located in the back of the building at 1532 Tower Grove Ave. The existing Union Loafers location at 1629 Tower Grove Ave. will still bake all the company’s bread, but bread sales will move over entirely to the new space. The current Union Loafers location will continue to operate as a cafe and pizzeria, as well as selling take-home bottles of wine.
Union Loafers co-owner Sean Netzer said the partnership with Union Studio allows Union Loafers to streamline service and deliver a more satisfying guest experience. “It's about being able to service the needs of the people that come here, but also just make it a little cleaner experience for the cafe and for the folks that are just coming out for bread,” Netzer said. “We've always had a big long line and one of the biggest frustrations for folks is like, ‘Hey, I just wanted to get a hoagie or a loaf of sourdough or whatever and I’ve got to stand in line behind 20 people that are ordering lunch.’”
Netzer added that the new bread shop is close enough that dine-in customers who want to take some bread home won’t have far to go. “If you want to do both, you still can, you can eat your lunch or your pizza at the cafe and then go up the road and buy your bread,” he said.
The front of the new space will house Union Studio’s collections of art, jewelry and other locally handmade goods. The Union Studio shop will flow directly into the Union Loafers Bread Shop, but the bread shop will also have its own entrance on the side of the building. “We really hope that it is a seamless shopping experience for the customers,” Kelley said. “You can go in and grab your bread, but you can also buy a handmade cutting board to cut it on, you can get local jams and jellies to spread it with.” The new location is just north of Union Studio’s current store at 1605 Tower Grove Ave., which will close after the holiday season. Union Studio’s Webster Groves store will be open continually throughout the transition period.
Union Studio co-owners Sarah Kelley and Mary Beth Bussen will oversee operations at both the new store and the bread shop, and Netzer said Union Loafers customers will see the benefits of Kelley and Bussen’s retail experience. “They have such an amazing fidelity to a nice atmosphere, really curating a good experience for that retail sale and just that environment where the restaurant can be a little hectic and frenetic,” he said.
Sarah Kelley said that Union Loafers’ bread is a natural complement to the artisanal collections Union Studio stocks. “We work with over 160 different people who are making beautiful things that they're excited to put into their community, and even though bread is different than a painting, I think that Ted and Sean put the same thoughtful attention into what they make – into what they do – that the people that do our paintings and make our pottery do,” Kelley said.
Union Loafers co-owner Ted Wilson said in a text message: “We are excited to get the chance to work with Mary Beth and Sarah! The chance to work with people that are engaged, nice and talented is a gift! The retail experience at Loafers has always been a little underserved and we can’t wait to see it blossom under the experience and thoughtful Union Studio team.”
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