Today we’d like to introduce you to Garrett McPerry, founder of Tommy and Atticus.
Garrett, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up baking and cooking with my parents but I started baking bread in May 2016 after finding inspiration from Michael Pollan’s Netflix docuseries, Cooked. In the series he urges viewers to cook something from scratch which they had never made before, so I decided to try my hand at baking sourdough bread. What I thought would be a one time weekend baking endeavor turned into my full-time job. I opened my own cottage food bakery, Tommy and Atticus, in November 2017 while simultaneously working full time in public accounting. During the summer of 2019, I left my accounting job to pursue bread baking as a full-time career. I landed a position at Gjusta’s bread department and have been learning what it takes to operate a successful bakery. It was a scary decision but it has put me one step closer to a life’s project of opening up my own brick and mortar Tommy and Atticus bakery.
Has it been a smooth road?
It definitely has not been a smooth road – between deadlines at my accounting firm, coordinating bread orders and deliveries, and then actually baking the bread (which can take up to 24 hours from start to finish) I didn’t get much sleep. I was regularly going to bed at 2 am and waking up at 6 am just so that I could pursue my passion and still keep my day job. Deciding to leave my accounting job had its own set of hurdles. Leaving the comfort and security that comes with being an accountant was tough. I was moving to an industry where success is not guaranteed and I would have to work odd hours (including weekends… bye brunch, it was nice knowing ya), take a pay cut, and lose my public accounting benefits. Many people in my life questioned my decision which made me second guess everything. I struggled with the decision for months but ultimately knew that I had to follow my heart to the gluten-filled life that is being a baker. Things have still been tough but I now know that baking is what I was meant to do.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Tommy and Atticus is an artisan bakery that specializes in sourdough breads. Every item on the menu is made with our natural sourdough starter – cinnamon raisin swirl, honey whole wheat, challah, cinnamon rolls, you name it we use our starter in it. Using starter in items you may not normally see it in provides a nice subtle flavor that makes you go “hmm? what is that, I like it.” Our top sellers always change but right now, our seeded country loaf is a huge hit and the cinnamon rolls are always in high demand.
As a company, I am most proud of the number of customers that have come from referrals. To me that is the ultimate compliment. You enjoy our product so much that you want to share it with your friends and family. For me it doesn’t get much better than that.
I think Tommy and Atticus really shines in the fact that we live by the idea that there is always room for improvement. We are constantly seeking knowledge and tweaking our recipes to make them the best they can be. We’re working with locals to find the best ingredients and most importantly, we listen to our customers and give them what they want. We once had a customer who wanted to gift her mother with a specific loaf of bread that she used to buy when she was a kid, so we helped create that for her. We’re all about spreading love the best way we know how… through food.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Other than the high rent, Los Angeles is a great spot to start out. Our city is becoming so much of a cultural hot spot and a big part of that is the food scene. People here are seeking out quality food, but they also value the story and connection behind that food.
For folks just starting out, I would definitely recommend looking into the rules and regulations for becoming a cottage food business. It’s a great way to test out the market while maintaining a low overhead. I would also recommend getting to know the managers and owners at your local restaurants and farmer’s markets. The industry is small and people are willing to help.
- Country Loaf – $8
- Rosemary Garlic Country Loaf – $9
- Seeded Country Loaf – $10
- Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Loaf – $9
- Raisin Cinnamon Swirl – $10
- Challah – $10
- Cinnamon Rolls – $15
- Website: https://www.tommyandatticus.com/
- Phone: 760-703-6221
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tommyandatticus/
All photos are take by myself, Garrett McPerry / @tommyandatticus