Left idling after a move to the Fan, the downtown outpost of a local bakery is now permanently closed.
Idle Hands Bread Co. will not reopen its shop at 312 Brook Road. That’s a change in plans from what was initially a temporary closure of the Jackson Ward spot, after owner Jay Metzler opened a larger location at 407 Strawberry St. last summer.
Metzler opened Idle Hands in 2015 in Scott’s Addition before moving to Jackson Ward in 2016. He soon after launched a crowdfunding campaign for a new oven that could keep up with demand.
But when the Brook Road building couldn’t properly power the new oven, Idle Hands opted for the Fan, where it opened in August.
He said at the time the Jackson Ward location would reopen, but announced Jan. 1 it will remain closed and the lease has been terminated.
In a post to Idle Hands’ Facebook page, Metzler wrote that the success of the Fan location and the construction of the GRTC Pulse bus line on Broad Street were the two main factors in keeping the Jackson Ward location closed.
“From the day the doors opened at our Fan location we have easily been doubling and sometimes tripling our customer visits. This has had our tiny crew spread thin and we simply need to give all of our attention to Strawberry Street,” Metzler wrote.
“The other point here is the very long term construction on Broad Street. While we know this is a situation that in the long run will be a fantastic thing for the area, we experienced parking and traffic complaints and problems from the start of the work.”
Idle Hands will be joined on Strawberry Street by Scoop, an ice cream shop in the former Video Fan storefront run by Morgan Botwinick, who owns Shockoe Bottom bakery Whisk.
The closure of is the latest in a shuffle of bakeries in Jackson Ward.
In August, Nettie’s Naturally owner and South African native Lynette Potgieter was denied re-entry to the country, forcing her to close the shop. A few months later her former assistant Shola Walker opened Mahogany Sweets, with her former boss’ blessing.