We’re calling it: 2020 is going to be the year of iPark 84. With the Hudson Valley’s More Good and Sloop Brewing Company alive and thriving and Crepini just getting settled after a move from Brooklyn, business is officially underway on East Fishkill’s former IBM campus.
But that’s just the beginning.
Coming in early 2020, Jane Bakes will open its new café and production facility in Dutchess County. This is a major move for the Rockland County brand, which debuted its first brick-and-mortar location in Pearl River in 2014. Since then, the cookie company has developed something of a cult following thanks to its healthy and delectable riffs on everyone’s favorite baked treats.
“It’s the perfect place to be,” says owner Jane Carroll. She began thinking about expansion close to two years ago, although her earliest searches for an affordable, convenient space came up blank. Then, while on vacation in Santa Fe, New Mexico in June 2019, she ran into a Brooklyn filmmaker who mentioned the developments at iPark 84. Intrigued, Carroll did her research and realized the East Fishkill campus would be the perfect fit. Add to that the fact that her Pearl River lease was up in November, and she wasted no time to make the move north.
Scheduled to open at the beginning of 2020, Jane Bakes East Fishkill is a hybrid café and production studio on the former IBM grounds. The 6,000-square-foot site is a major upgrade from the 1,200-square-foot Pearl River eatery, which Carroll gifted to her longtime chef Ruben Vega. While she’ll continue to provide support for Vega and outsource some of her production to him, she notes that East Fishkill is now the official headquarters for Jane Bakes.
At the Dutchess County café, Carroll’s signature healthyish cookies will sit alongside nutritious dishes and drinks. Working with the campus’s industrial aesthetic, she’s adding natural touches via reclaimed wood and glass. Her son is building the bar and countertops, which will sit near to an all-glass divider that allows visitors to glimpse the goings-on inside the manufacturing facility.
On the production end of things, the East Fishkill venue will enable the brand to bump up its product output by five or six times its regular amount, which currently equates to just about 4,800 packages of cookies a week. Not only does this mean cookies for the café, but it also means the company can finally fulfill the stores on its waitlist to become stockists for Jane Bakes.
While the move is big for the Hudson Valley cookie company, it’s yet another win in Carroll’s long streak of entrepreneurial endeavors. In fact, the Bronx native first rose to fame for Jane Carroll Flowers, her flower company based out of Irvington. Carroll was so successful as a floral designer that she became a go-to presence at events in Westchester and New York City and even appeared on Oprah’s “O List” in 2002.
Then hardship struck. In the middle of the night in 2007, Carroll’s house caught on fire. In July of that year she suffered a heart attack and in September the stock market crashed, bringing Jane Carroll Flowers down with it. Knowing she needed to prioritize her health, Carrol experimented with healthier recipes and switched gears to open a coffee house in Pearl River. When her cookies took off in the community, she began manufacturing them and bringing them to local grocery stores to sell. It was a “just keep swimming” time of life, but Carrol persevered.
Today, Jane Bakes is Hudson Valley powerhouse of three cafés — in East Fishkill, Pearl River, and Yonkers — with around 350 stockists. Like the East Fishkill property, the Yonkers café at Larkin Plaza in iPark Hudson is also a recent addition to the Jane Bakes family. Carroll opened it in November as a micro-version of her Pearl River space and, although it’s still relatively new to town, the coffee house has been so well received that she’s thinking about opening a few of them.
Inside every Jane Bakes location, Carroll’s better-for-you cookies sell as quickly as her staff can stock them. Her gluten-free chocolate cookies are a perennial favorite, as are her whiskey and rye chocolate chippers. (Personally, her maple pecan cookies are what tempt her sweet tooth the most.) In each of them, Carroll uses only the cleanest ingredients she can find. She pays a worthwhile premium for Whey Low sugar, a natural sugar alternative with 75-percent fewer calories than sugar, along with organic almond and coconut flours or 100-percent whole wheat flour. Her chocolate is 74-percent dark and the nuts she uses are real, not based on artificial flavoring.
“I’m going back to the basics and removing all the bad stuff,” she explains. If her fan following is any indication, basic is most certainly the way to go. In addition to her cookies, Carroll and her team also whip up ice cream sandwiches in collaboration with Shop Rite and produce mini cakes at the cafés that Carroll hopes to one day manufacture on a larger scale.
In the meantime, she’s busy putting the finishing touches on her new home in iPark. Come spring, she plans to add a 144-foot-long vine-covered pergola outside, with a dinner table that spans its length for diners to sit underneath and enjoy a cookie under the sun.
“I think it’s fantastic,” she says. “There’s so much going on up here and [iPark] has a really cool vibe. I love it.”