This is the first of an occasional series celebrating Yankee Ingenuity — that self-reliance and inventiveness that's a cornerstone of New England culture.
Kevin Rivard always thought about owning his own business. Originally from Enfield, Rivard was happily employed as an assistant vice president with the Federal Reserve bank in Boston.
He and his wife were even happier when he was transferred to their Windsor Locks branch about eight years ago to help consolidate departments within the bank, which brought them back home to Connecticut and a home in Granby.
Six years later, in 2010, when the Federal Reserve decided to close that branch, Rivard was offered his old job back in Boston.
"I always thought that if my career ever ended at the Federal Reserve, I would look into owning my own business," he said. "I was looking for something that I could be flexible in my hours, and still be creative and use my operational background."
The couple, with school-age twins, both had full time careers, so they ate out a lot.
"Every time I went out to a restaurant with my wife, she would always say 'I wish I could try a little bite of this, or a little bite of that, and not commit to one particular meal.' I thought if I ever opened a restaurant it would be on the smaller side where people could try a bite of this and a bite of that," he said.
"For some reason I had stuck in my head 'Just One Bite, or 'One Bite Café,' and I just couldn't get that idea out of my head."
Severance package in hand, Rivard looked at many options including purchasing a franchise but soon realized his business background gave him many of the benefits a franchise would offer.
The idea for One Bite Café was born — and it opened last summer in the location of a former ice cream shop.
"What I've found also is there is a certain population out there that only want a small bite so they're not being weighed down for lunch or breakfast."
The menu features doughnuts, pastries and eggs, then sandwiches and sliders, some unique such as Chicken Mango Tango and meatball with guacamole. Most items are, well, more bite-sized. Even ice cream cones are served up in miniature portions, and sold individually or in "flights," with five to a tray.
As a former central bank manager, Rivard knows well that many, perhaps most new restaurants fail, but he thinks this is a sustainable business.
"I've been able...to do well enough to pay salaries and pay the bills. I'm not quite making a lot of money for myself, but I am making enough money to sustain the business and keep payroll going," he says, adding that the catering business is really taking off because finger-sized food is easier to share in an office setting.
"People come in and always ask me if this is a franchise and I tell them no this is a unique idea, and they say this should be a franchise, we love the name, we love the concept. So maybe three, four years down the line, we'll expand to One Bite Café 2, or just continue with this concept in another area," he said.
"In addition to employing myself, I've been able to employ other people in this down economy," he said.
Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times