There aren't a lot of bakery-real estate offices. But the global pandemic has created a new world that led the delicious croissants of Fiore's Bakery to share the same space with Ken Sazama Real Estate.
After being closed for five months due to the Coronavirus, Fiore's Bakery reopened with a twist -- a new business roommate as Sazama Real Estate set up shop where customer seating used to be. Charlie Fiore and Ken Sazama talked about what led them to this odd coupling of their businesses.
Q: What made you come to this interesting business arrangement?
Fiore: We talked about the idea of a real estate cafe a few years ago and we never really moved ahead. Covid came along and with the bakery being closed for 5 months, I decided to reinstate my real estate license and it seemed like the right time to implement the rest.
Sazama: Charlie and I met because I was a frequent customer of the bakery and I stopped in one day asking him to sign a petition in support of local businesses. We quickly realized we both had a passion for supporting local businesses, real estate, and healthy, homemade food! Charlie mentioned the idea about a real estate cafe to me a couple of years ago and kept bringing it up as we would meet up and talk. When COVID-19 came and the bakery shut down, we kept on talking about it and realized that the timing was right.
Q: How will being in the same space benefit each other?
Fiore: I can benefit from the additional support from Ken and his company in my real estate business. Ken benefits from the exposure that the bakery and my interactions with the community bring to his business.
Sazama: We will benefit from being in the bakery because Fiore’s Bakery has such a great reputation, and Charlie is so respected in the community. And, of course, there’s all the walk-in traffic and visibility on South Street.
Q: Is this a temporary or permanent arrangement for the foreseeable future?
Fiore: We are hoping that it will be permanent and hope to integrate the concept more seamlessly as we figure things out.
Sazama: We’re planning for now but also the future. We look forward to continuing this relationship for the foreseeable future.
Q: What else would you like people to know?
Fiore: We are two small, local businesses that are both heavily involved with the JP community. These are unprecedented times that call for thinking outside the box and implementing new innovative ideas. A big part of our combined business model involves lots of support and donations to local nonprofits and organizations JP residents care about. If you care about the bakery, please support this effort. It may be the reason we survive.
Sazama: Sazama Real Estate and Fiore’s Bakery very much care about our community. We take seriously being local businesses, representing, and being a part of Jamaica Plain. So whether you’re looking for tasty good food, a healthy breakfast, a cup of coffee, or information about the real estate market, we would love to hear from you.