Six years ago I wrote a vision plan for a business I wanted to create. The very first line of the very first paragraph on the very first page said, “Hurley House is a purveyor of hospitality.” I went on for pages and pages describing in detail what I wanted this business to do, how I wanted it to operate, what I wanted to sell and offer, but all of it stemmed from that first sentence. I wanted to create a business that offered hospitality.
Since hospitality isn’t a tangible item, I built our product line around what I knew: delicious homemade food in a welcoming environment. But the point was never supposed to be the food. The food was supposed to be a gateway through which our client would have access to our real commodity, hospitality.
Everyone, and I mean every single person, who I spoke this idea to, did not get it. The idea did not fit any sort of norm. It sounded like a failure waiting to happen. It sounded foreign and unknown, and most people would try to point me in the direction of more “traditional” food-based businesses.
But I believed in the idea, as unconventional as it was. I believed in my vision, and more importantly, I trusted my gut and the quiet voice in my heart telling me to keep going.
So I built Hurley House from the ground up. I have written a lot about this process. Today, we are six years in, three years operating from my home, and three years operating from a commercial space. I feel confident saying we offer a product that our client enjoys, and little by little, we are finding our way and figuring it out.
But this whole time, if you were to ask me, “What is Hurley House?” I would quickly answer, “We are a bakery.” If you gave me thirty more seconds of your time, I would tell you that we also offer take-away-meals, host special occasions in our space, and send out a weekly email called The Lovely.
I would not have mentioned hospitality.
Only if you and I sat down and had a long conversation about my business, or if you were a trusted friend who seemed interested, only then would I reveal the actual vision of my business. I would lean in close and treat it as if it was a secret. “We front as a bakery, but really, this business is all about offering hospitality.”
And then I would lean back and look at your face to determine whether this idea had landed on fertile ground or didn’t make a lick of sense. Labeling Hurley House as a bakery was safe. It saved me from potential disapproval. It saved me from having to vulnerably telling you the truth about what I wanted to build.
Maybe it’s confidence that comes with time, maybe it’s fatigue of wanting to say one thing but actually saying another, but over the past few months I have decided it’s time to pull back the curtain and begin to lead with the message that originally spoke to my heart. Not only to people who are intimately interested in what I’m doing, but to everyone. To you. To your friend. To the strangers who asks. To my audience both in person at the store and online in our community. I want you to know what Hurley House does and why we are here.
The mission of Hurley House is to model hospitality and equip you to practice it.
There it is. In plain sight. Everything we do, every product we offer is centered around the idea of modeling hospitality to our clients and then, if you’re interested, we can equip you to practice this art in your own life.
Yes, there are cookies and cakes, casseroles and salads, parties and place settings.
There are classes, whiskey, and photographs.
There are Insta-Stories, year-long projects, and special lunches.
We sell all of these things, but they are not the mission. They are not the real product.
The real thing Hurley House specializes in is hospitality. Authentic, aspirational, attainable hospitality.
I want you to know that even if all you want is the best chocolate chip cookie in town, you are welcome. We will sell you that cookie with a smile all day long.
If all you want is dinner for your family without having to get your kids out of the car, we are here waiting for you in the drive through. Can we get you an iced coffee for the carpool line?
If you just like watching along as I learn to cook mussels, ruin ice cream, and figure out whether or not I like anchovies, and you never step foot in our store, I’m so glad you are here.
But if you want more. If your interest is piqued, and you’re sold on the idea of folding in hospitality to your own life, I am here for you. I want to equip you with what I have learned over the past twenty years, to join along side of you in the journey, and remind you that hospitality is always worth it.
As always, thank you for reading my words. My heart is grateful for you.