Batavia’s New Moon Vegan, which first opened as a Boardwalk Shop two years ago, will soon be moving into a permanent location, thanks in part to a Downtown Improvement Grant approved by the City Council during a board meeting last month.
According to the city’s website, there are matching grant programs to help existing and new businesses, which are overseen by the Community and Economic Development Department. Most programs require property to be located in either an active TIF district or the Downtown Historic District.
The Downtown Improvement Grants provide up to $25,000 in funding for Batavia businesses that apply and qualify for the grant, according to the city’s website.
The $20,000 grant awarded to the bakery will help the business acquire new equipment and other amenities for the new location at 119 S. Batavia Ave.
New Moon Vegan owner Jo Colagiacomi said that the bakery has come a long way in a relatively short time.
“Like many people in 2020 I saw myself in need of a switch,” she said. “Opening a bakery has always been a dream of mine for a good 20 years or so, and I just started seeing the potential.”
Originally from New York, Colagiacomi began to sell her baked goods at events there before moving to Batavia about five years ago. She was pursuing a master’s degree when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, which was a factor in her decision to change course into what would become New Moon Vegan.
“At first I started doing pre-orders, and then I applied and was accepted to become a Boardwalk Shop,” she said. “I started the business officially in December of 2020 after many months of planning.”
City Administrator Laura Newman said that New Moon Vegan was one of the original Boardwalk Shops.
“2020 was our first year, so we’re in our third season. Of the first two seasons, I think we had only two that have not turned into brick and mortar shops,” she said.
Despite several “learning curves,” Colagiacomi said her first year in business was “great.”
“I was floored by how positive the response was from the community. Like very quickly we would have lines far out the door,” she said. “The line wasn’t just a fad, people were showing up every weekend.”
The support from the board walk shops program and the ability to learn from other businesses were integral to the early success, according to Colagiacomi. Continued success with the shop made expanding into a permanent location an easy decision.
“We’re moving into this beautiful space, I’ve been renting it since January,” Colagiacomi said. “The building does need some updates, such as the electricity, and I have to build a commercial kitchen, there’s nothing there. Another update is the building of an ADA compliant restroom.”
“I’m hesitant to give an estimate, but we’re really hoping to be open by the holiday season,” Colagiacomi said.
Colagiacomi hopes to host open mic nights, cooking classes and other events at the new location.
“Community is really at the center of my ethos,” said Colagiacomi. “I really want to create this safe, welcoming space for people in our community and a place where we can figure out ways to support artists and musicians and each other.”
Along with its signature vegan baked goods, Colagiacomi says the new bakery will include an expanded menu.
“We’re going to be doing plenty of baked goods, a lot of savories. A lot of the stuff was inspired by my Italian-American upbringing,” said Colagiacomi. “We’re going to have savory vegetable pastries, a variety of baked goods, a soup of the day. I’m hoping to have sandwiches and salads and possibly a smoothie bar.”
Colagiacomi said she sources her ingredients from local farms whenever possible.
“My mission is basically to provide a plant-based option where there’s no taste or texture sacrifice, people can be surprised at how delicious a vegan option can actually be, while supporting local agriculture as much as I can”
New Moon Vegan has plans to continue doing pop-up events until the new location opens. Colagiacomi said more info on those can be found on the bakery’s website and social media.