From retail and restaurants to tech and media, contractors to coworking spaces, large, small, and everything in between, a diverse array of businesses call Alexandria home. In our blog series, Growing in Alexandria, we sit down to talk with businesses around the City to learn more about who they are, what they do, and why they love it here. Have an idea for a business in Alexandria to talk to? Email us!
Maribeth Nyerges started her eponymous bakery 35 years ago at the Old Town Farmer’s Market, “back when farmer’s markets weren’t all the rage,” as she says. Since then, they’ve expanded to include wholesale and a pandemic-driven delivery service. Marie Spittell, AEDP business development associate, spoke with Maribeth about how she jumped into action after her wholesale business disappeared overnight last March and was able to keep her entire staff working and on the payroll.
AEDP: What is the most rewarding aspect of running your bakery?
Maribeth: I am a person who feeds off of challenges, and being an entrepreneur is the perfect food. The challenges NEVER end!!
AEDP: How do you measure success?
Maribeth: Success for me is to see that there are people who work with us who are able to support their families and buy homes. Of the nine most senior employees here, seven have become citizens since working with us.
AEDP: What is the best piece of professional advice you have received?
Maribeth: The best business advice came from my stepdad way back in my grade school days. He made my brother and me write our own budgets from first grade, and if we ran out of money by the end of the month, too bad. I remember my brother having to negotiate with his trombone teacher a time or two. My stepdad’s advice was simple: “You don’t spend money you don’t have.”
AEDP: What is your favorite quote?
Maribeth: “I eat ‘no’ for breakfast.” –Kamala Harris
AEDP: How has the COVID-19 pandemic caused you to shift your business strategy?
Maribeth: Our wholesale business with area institutions like hotels, professional clubs, large caterers, convention centers, was eliminated overnight. Luckily I had just finished a course in website design at school (yes, I started going to college at age 56!) just prior to March 2020. I locked myself in my office and invented a whole new company and website for home delivery of our baked goods to keep ourselves in business. We have paid all employees full wages and benefits throughout the pandemic in order to keep our team together and, quite frankly, able to feed their families. This company would be nothing without the people who have stood with me all these years, and I refuse to let them down.
AEDP: Why did you decide to locate in Alexandria?
Maribeth: I have lived in Alexandria since 1985 and have been a vendor at the Alexandria Farmer’s Market for 35 years. My heart is literally fixed in the center of Market Square. All that is good in my life has ties there. I live on King Street, and that’s where I’ll die!!
To learn more about Maribeth’s Bakery, visit their stand at the Old Town Farmer’s Market every Saturday or order some goodies from MB Bakery to Go.