Miss Molly’s Bakery signed its first lease on Halloween of 2018 but it took four years for the business to open — at an entirely different location.
“If there was a plague of locusts, I wouldn’t have been surprised,” said owner Shane Speciale about the struggles of opening his business.
The 50-year-old opened his bakery on July 22 at 2600 E. Colfax Ave. across the street from East High School. It serves cakes, cookies, pies and pastries as well as a small selection of calzones.
Miss Molly’s long road to opening hit its first roadblock shortly after it signed for a retail space along 17th Avenue in Uptown. The landlord there was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage four cancer and was unable to sign important documents, Speciale said.
Speciale had already been looking for a second space to lease, to house his actual bakery operations. That led him to the spot by East High, which could house both the bakery and a storefront. Miss Molly’s inked a lease at the location on April Fool’s Day of 2019.
Next began a nightmarish saga of delays and shortages.
The first delay was over an oven hood. Speciale’s engineer had misunderstood the bakery’s menu and forgot to include it in the buildout plans submitted to the city. Next came another hiccup over the type of grease trap the property had installed.
Then COVID hit.
“And all of a sudden response times in the city plummeted. The response times for my engineers plummeted and so on,” Speciale said.
Miss Molly’s finally received its necessary permits from the city sometime around February or March 2021.
At this point, Speciale was in search of a contractor to assist in the buildout. Finding the right person for the job took several more weeks. Then inflation and COVID shortages began to hit.
It was April 2021, and the entire buildout was supposed to take six to eight weeks. Instead, it took a year.
“It’s not a very big buildout. It’s not that much space and it’s not overly complicated. Then we started running into supply issues, and we started running into subcontractor issues,” Speciale said.
For example, Speciale needed a prep sink in the bakery’s kitchen. A standard, non-custom prep sink took over six months to deliver.
“And then when it actually arrived, they deliberately sent me the wrong size so it wouldn’t fit. And they knew they sent me the wrong size but didn’t bother telling me and I ended up having to go back and get it again which took another six weeks,” he said.
He said the supplier might have thought they were helping him by sending a more common and cheaper sink, but he had specific space constraints.
Miss Molly’s also had trouble scheduling subcontractors, which would take months.
A slight delay in getting the ceiling sealed caused an additional two and a half month wait for a fire sprinkler technician, Speciale said. Because inspections need to be completed in a specific order, one delay would cause several more — “the leg bone is connected to the ankle bone kind of thing,” he said.
At long last, Miss Molly’s was granted a certificate of occupancy on April 22 of this year.
Speciale then had to line up vendors, hire bakers and see how his recipes held up in his newly installed ovens.
The entire process cost Speciale 30-40 percent more than it would have before the pandemic, he said.
For now, Miss Molly’s is operating from 4 to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. Speciale said the shop will open earlier on weekdays when East High’s new school year begins. All non-custom menu items are priced between $2.50 and $8.
Oh, and Miss Molly? That’s the name of Speciale’s dog, a Great Pyrenees.