HACKENSACK, N.J. — It’s 10 p.m. and Hackensack couple Eleanor and Jackie Bradley are covered in coconut flour and exhausted.
The two just finished their nightly routine of dancing and baking tons, and tons, and tons of organic, gluten-free goodies in their Hawthorne kitchen.
By the time they get into bed, it'll only be a few hours before they’ll have to wake up and make their way to Hackensack High School, where Eleanor teaches English and Jackie works with special needs students as a paraprofessional.
That’s the way it’s been for the past year, since the Bradleys launched Bradley Bake Shop .
Next month, they'll have a brand-new Bogota kitchen and retail store on River Road.
"It's fun," said Eleanor, whose mother, Virginia, was known in the neighborhood for her cakes.
"You get to eat it and you get to share it with other people. You can't get that in any other profession."
Both the Bradleys' business and 20-year relationship are thriving.
The baking side of it all began almost five years ago when Jackie developed stomach problems and asked Eleanor to bake gluten-free treats.
She only perfected her gluten-free chocolate chip cookie last summer, six months before their only daughter — and biggest fan — moved to California.
Instead of going to their respective corners at the end of the day, the newly-empty-nesters began meeting each other again — in the kitchen.
"We had to spend time with each other and we didn't know how to do that," said Jackie, a Bergen County mental health counselor and HHS special needs paraprofessional. "It's been great — it's fun."
As the relationship grew stronger in the kitchen, so did business.
The Bradleys brought their treats to the River Vale Farmers Market last summer where they made pockets full of money on the first day.
"People were coming over to us in droves," Eleanor said. "That's unusual. We realized we could parlay that into a business."
After rotating between the River Vale, Hasbrouck Heights and Rutherford farmers markets, the Bradleys began selling their flaky goods at Dumbo Kitchen in Brooklyn, at the suggestion of their daughter's friend.
The weekly drives, gas and tolls became all too much last March, but Bradley Bake Shop expanded to several supermarkets including:
- Hoboken (two stores)
- Market Basket in Franklin Lakes
- King's in Cresskill
- Nicholas Markets Foodtown in North Haledon
Their sea salt cookies, snickerdoodle brownies and rum cherry vanilla bars in particular have been flying off the shelves.
The reaction the Bradleys got from the director of the North Haledon super market makes the long hours in the kitchen worthwhile.
"He opened the product right in front of us, which surprised me," Eleanor recalled. "And his eyes rolled back in his head."
But it's not about the money for the Bradleys.
"I will give food away just because I know people enjoy it," said Eleanor, who has patent pending on her flour blend.
"It's about them liking what I make," she said. "It just makes you feel good — and you can't put a price on that."