STAMFORD, Conn. -- Louise and Robert Hyden are baking a taste of home, and they hope it will become a staple for Stamford area residents.
The native Australians, who moved to Greenwich 12 years ago, have opened the first COBS Bakery in the United States. It's located at 1057 High Ridge Road, and it opened on June 24. They say the response has been overwhelming.
"It's been unbelievably positive," Louise said. "Everyone has said they have been waiting for something like this to come."
The bakery's insistence on natural products and fresh baking has quickly attracted a loyal following.
"They are thrilled to see something that is made from scratch," Louise said. "It has no sugar, no preservatives and no dairy products."
The only exception is the challah bread, which has some egg in it, Robert said.
North American bread contains sugar, something the couple noticed when first came to the United States.
"We can taste the sugar in American bread," he said.
It's the first U.S. location for COBS Bread, which is owned by Baker’s Delight of Australia.
Originally from Melbourne, the couple made regular stops at Bakers Delight with their three sons: Richie 27, Tom, 24, and Nick 17.
"Our whole family spent 30 years going to this store in Australia," Louise said.
Robert, who had been in finance for 29 years, left Goldman Sachs about three years ago. Louise has a background in nutrition. They thought about a new career direction, looking at their Australian background.
"We were talking about some of the things in Australia that we thought were lacking in the market here that we thought could go really well," he said.
They heard about COBS Bread, a Bakers Delight subsidiary that opened in Vancouver about 12 years ago and has spread across Canada. They approached the company about opening a location. While they awaited word, they brushed up their cooking and business skills at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan.
Bakers Delight agreed to work with them to open its first location in the United States.
It's a hands-on job, Robert said, and they have to know everything from baking to balancing the books. The company insists that franchise owners also be bakers.
"You have to be able to do everything," Robert said. "They won't give you one of these stores unless you can do it. You can't be a silent investor. ... The people who operate the stores have to be 100 percent involved in the store."
The couple donated $2,400 — all sales from the opening day — to the Stamford Boys & Girls Club.
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