Poppy's Stuffed Bagels Launches Line of Bread

COVID-19 has challenged local food businesses to rethink and reposition as market conditions change rapidly. Consumer behavior is shifting quickly and so are preferences. How do local food entrepreneurs find success?

Let’s look at the example of Grant Sarvis and Poppy’s Stuffed Bagels. Poppy’s originally launched in 2016 with stuffed bagel holes that combine traditional, high-quality bagel making with a modern twist of convenience. These cream-cheese filled bagel holes quickly found a home and a place in customers’ hearts at coffee shops like Compass Coffee and as a food service item, including in stores such as Whole Foods Market and Union Kitchen.

Fast forward to 2020. COVID-19 hit. Coffee shops started closing. Food service sales to restaurants slowed to a crawl and Poppy’s sales took a nose dive.

Together, Grant Sarvis and the Union Kitchen team went back to the drawing board to understand what needed to happen to not only get Poppy’s through the pandemic but actually set up the business to come out even stronger.

Pop’s Buns  made by Grant Sarvis, founder of Poppy’s

Pop’s Buns made by Grant Sarvis, founder of Poppy’s

Enter in bread. A staple. A comfort and something that can be sold in a wide variety of stores in multiple formats. “It was an unexpected love, honestly,” Grant Sarvis shared. “I started to get into it, and it was unbelievably challenging…That challenge excites me.”

Grant Sarvis aimed to bring the same emphasis on the high quality that made his stuffed bagel holes so successful to his new product line. To get started, Grant spoke with the owner of a famous local restaurant, who offered him some advice and recommended the book “Bread.”

After studying the art of bread-making and working many hours to craft his new recipes, Grant Sarvis created two new styles of high-quality bread. The secret? Natural ingredients and a slow, natural fermentation process. In addition to the current offerings, potato brioche and multigrain, Grant Sarvis stated that he has plans to introduce more lines and formats of different types of breads in the near future.

Union Kitchen is serving Poppy’s bread on their sandwiches, meaning your breakfast and lunch just got a lot tastier. For Grant Sarvis and the Poppy’s team, this means they are receiving purchase orders multiple pallets at a time, several times a week. That’s a lot of bread.

While pivoting product strategy is never easy, it is core to setting up any business for long term success. Product market fit is never static and can always be fine tuned. This is never more true in more volatile market conditions, like those we are facing in COVID-19. Poppy’s is just one example of how a food business can continue to grow no matter the conditions.

Poppy's bread product launch local business DC Washington Canva Compressed.jpg