Bulk Pantry plans new chapter | West Orange Times & Observers

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April Nobles’ delicious low-carb, gluten-free, diabetic-friendly, vegan and keto desserts are created through their love for people.

She said knowing she’s helping someone else is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job.

Although she has always been in the service industry, she originally wanted to be a nurse or work with the Special Olympics.

“That kind of satisfies the emptiness of helping people that not everyone can help and delivering something that, I mean, eating a piece of cake at a birthday party is so monumental and when you can’t or you make sacrifices has to be a comfort food because you can’t have it anymore, it takes a toll on a person’s emotions and how they live their lives,” Nobles said. “I really don’t think you have to sacrifice anything.”

Now, the owner of The Bulk Pantry is beginning a new chapter in her culinary journey as she transforms her business.

A NEW WAY

On Saturday, May 28th, Nobles will close their downtown Conservatory store and start over.

A week later on Saturday 4th June her wares will be available in a cooler across from her current Main House Market store. She will stock the cooler with all of her best selling items like donuts, cakes, cheesecake, muffins, cookies and seasonal offerings. She will also supply products for The Modern Host on Dillard Street.

Additionally, Nobles will conduct the majority of its operations from a commercial kitchen at 50 State Road.

The pantry owner will continue to fulfill custom orders and will work with another local bakery to work out of the space on the days it is closed, creating a benefit for both businesses.

COVID COMPLICATIONS

The Bulk Pantry has not been immune to the complications of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We made it through COVID, but it wasn’t easy,” Nobles shared. “Even after that, at the end of COVID, I lost pretty much all of my employees.”

Nobles had to take a hard, honest look at their business.

“I have a family, just like everyone else, and I was already working six days a week, and as of last August I’m now working seven days a week,” she said. “I just felt like this was a turning point in which direction I wanted to take the business.”

Though downtown Winter Garden is beautiful and popular, Nobles says rent is expensive.

Balancing the business while also being the mother of two children, Blake, 8, and Ryan, 6, has proved difficult.

However, she said that despite everything she does, she works hard to maintain the quality and consistency of her product.

“Someone once said to me a few years ago, ‘Do the one thing you do, do it 100% and do it well, and then everything else comes along,'” she said. “I always have that with me.”

CUSTOMER CONTRIBUTIONS

Though the past few years have been tumultuous, the only constant has been the pantry’s loyal customer base.

Nobles said she will miss interacting with her customers because many are not just customers but also dear friends.

“My clients are fantastic; I always told them they were all rock stars,” Nobles said. “You encourage, you give me grace, strength, and I am humbled by the outpourings and what follows.”

In less than four years, The Bulk Pantry now has around 10,000 followers on Facebook.

Customer and friend Gloria Green said she met Nobles in late January when she needed a birthday cake for a party. Because of allergies, Green said she offered to find a birthday cake that was dairy, dye and gluten free.

“The end result was a delicious cake that everyone in the family could enjoy,” Green said. “While shopping, I discovered their peanut butter cookies: gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. These were a blessing to round out my severely restricted diet.”

Alongside her clients and two sons, Nobles said her husband Dwayne, father Scott and mother Kathy have been her motivation and have helped her along the way.

SWEET SAGA

The bulk store originally opened in January 2018 at the Tri-City Shopping Center on the northeast corner of South Dillard Street and West Colonial Drive.

The store offered a wide variety of cooking and baking ingredients that customers could buy in bulk, such as nuts, sweets, spices, flour, coffee, and dried fruits and vegetables.

Nobles said Florida humidity has affected the business, and she throws away more merchandise than she sells.

One day a customer asked her if she’d baked anything before and another asked her about keto, but she had no idea what that was. Nobles spent days researching and talking to nutritionists before buying a toaster and starting baking dozens of muffins at once.

“It has thrown open a door for a whole need. I think this community didn’t know they needed them, but they knew they needed them,” she said.

Nobles started out with low-carb muffins and breads before venturing into cupcakes. In June 2019, the pantry moved to its new location at 103 S. Main St. in downtown Winter Garden.

In addition to the storefront, Nobles introduced subscription boxes in August 2021. The item range changes every month and all items are frozen and vacuum sealed prior to dispatch. She said she sells between 30 and 70 boxes a month.

THE BULK PANTRY

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