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Timothy L. O'Brien

Omicron Is Pushing Small Businesses to the Brink

One resilient New Jersey baker who has so far managed to outrun the pandemic now worries she may have to close up shop.

Will omicron close this bakery?

Will omicron close this bakery?

Photographer: Timothy L. O'Brien

Imagine you were born in modest circumstances and spent decades shaking off the limitations of your rural hometown. You saved enough money to study in France, where you fell in love with food. You worked your way through college and then set your sights on the Culinary Institute of America. You later found mentors in the food business, and baking bread became your thing.

After taking online MBA night classes, you scraped together the money and courage to open your own shop in an affluent New Jersey suburb: Montclair Bread. As the line at the door lengthened and accolades and real money rolled in, it became possible to overcome other obstacles: self-doubt; a bad marriage; single-motherhood and a pelvis-shattering bicycle accident.