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Gideon’s Bakehouse Owner Issues Heartfelt Statement

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Amidst a wave of controversial accusations from an anonymous social media account, the owner of our beloved Gideon’s Bakehouse in Disney Springs has issued a heartfelt statement. The words from this bakehouse mastermind appeared on both Facebook and Instagram accounts for the business yesterday, though, true to usual form, there was nothing corporate sounding about them. The response addressed each of the remarks, explaining some, denying others, and rightfully admitting that one, the pay structure agreed to between owner and employee, was not the concern of the public. Read the full statement below:

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I’m talking about the thing. I never dreamed we, of all places, would be here. We just want to make cookies and tell stories. We are not a dramatic workplace or social space. There’s nothing secret behind the curtains. What you see is what you get. Y’all know I keep negativity away from my socials. For a week, I let everyone support, outrage, argue, and fight, mostly uninterrupted, but I’m pulling things back in today. If you still have an issue or doubt, I’m just a DM on IG away. Ok. Here we go ….

Hi! Me again. It’s been quite a week. It took me a while to make this post. First, I needed to make sure my team was ok. Second, I needed to speak with a clear head. Admittedly, I’ve been mad. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been numb. I don’t want to talk to you from that place. I only know how to be authentic with you, and I needed time to collect myself. This is not a company post. Gideon’s has never acted like a traditional business. It’s a little personal project I started alone, born from the grief of heartache. For me, Gideon’s Bakehouse feels like you’ve come to my home, and I’ve made something just for you … only now I have 180 people in the kitchen helping me out.

For anyone wondering what I’m talking about, the brief: Someone hiding behind the shield of anonymity created a social media account making a laundry list of accusations about the Flagship Gideon’s shop, ranging from misleading to blatantly false to simply petty. It’s important to note: This person does not work for Gideon’s and is not representative of my crew. Every good store discusses improvements, and no one on the Gideon’s team does it through personal attacks and drama. While most of you saw through the claims very quickly, helping to deescalate things, I’d still like to briefly address a few topics.

Pay: If you’re not sitting in front of us accepting a position, it’s NYB. As for the wage/tipping controversy, this is an industry conversation, not a Gideon’s conversation. Our approach is incredibly standard, though it consistently benefits my staff more than most jobs because we’re fortunate enough to have a full line, and then some, from open to close every day 365. Health & Safety: We’ve passed every single inspection since day one. There is no debate anyone can reasonably have here. Not to mention, you can see the store yourself. Both locations are almost completely visible to the public.

LGBTQ+ Support: As the son of a beautiful gay parent, accusations of discrimination are not just a colossal no, but the quickest tell that the claims weren’t coming from an honest place. There is none of this in my house, now or ever, full stop. Much of our staff is proudly part of the community, and we have their backs. We’ve celebrated Pride weekly for years, even when you know how I feel about color, but representation is fundamental. Manager Slurs: This was a false personal attack and outright lie that hurt someone with a good, hard-earned reputation. It’s appalling, and I sincerely apologize to this manager. You and your family didn’t deserve to read such a thing.

The CEO Fat Cat: I want to bring this up because it’s part of Gideon’s culture and a conversation I have with each person in every hiring interview. I am not a modern-day capitalist, meaning I don’t believe in squeezing to the top. We need to stay healthy, of course, but Gideon’s wasn’t created for enrichment. I won’t cut labor by automating production. I refuse to ship or deliver, prioritizing the in-person experience. I declined all offers to open more locations. Franchises aren’t my thing. We’re a proud part of Central Florida. We exist to create art and build community.

I understand the default belief that companies are greedy. However, we’re still just a local business trying to do our best, and our actions don’t support this narrative. I opened Gideon’s super broke in 2016. Since then, I’ve never increased my salary or taken a bonus. Earnings are invested in new and secret things that open the door for even more growth and opportunity within my team. Those are my/our values and, in my opinion, how businesses should act. Do I drive a Lamborghini? No, and wouldn’t want to. Do I have designer cats? No, they’re just really cool looking, so don’t be jelly.

Working for the G AKA the Real Culture: Every person who works in the stores knows that I only have three job requirements. Quality Control. Keep the Store Handsome. Treat Everyone Like Family and Friends. That last one works towards guests and each other. I do not hire salespeople. There are no scripts. There are no metrics you must achieve. I don’t need my team to talk about Gideon’s. I want them to talk about X-men 97 (killer), favorite local restaurants, and sharing pet photos. I want guests and my crew to get to know each other. That’s the job – period. Everyone on our team hears this directly from my mouth. I trust each individual I hire to bring those ideals to their workplace, and you know our crew. They’re incredible. They are asked to care about the guest. Care about each other. Care about themselves. No one of those asks is more important than the other. That’s how we treat each other, from top to bottom.

Thanks for letting me say some things. Gideon’s isn’t perfect—nothing is. But wow, do we really really try. Doing the right thing is important on all levels of what we do. And in talking to so many of my peers this week, I’m not the only one. I don’t want to see this happen to anyone else. We have a community too large for my tiny brain to process, so we made it through an attack like this. Not every small business is in such a position, and that frightens me.

My biggest love and praise go to my teams. I’m sorry we had to go through this together, but we’ll be all the better for it. End Market 4Ever! The Kitchen Crew works miracles, from Cookie toppers to Bakers! Gideon’s at Disney Springs brings the magic every day! Applause for the smooth stylings of the Merch Team! How about the madness of our Art Department of one?! And my Leadership Team, thank you for holding it all together, not just today but always. I’m a rambling pot of half-baked ideas without you.

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Gideon’s Bakehouse continues to service delighted customers with their fantastically unique creations. A spooky theme, juxtaposed with a warm, friendly, and inviting environment, keeps fans coming back for more, often waiting extensively to enjoy the full experience that is Gideon’s Bakehouse in Disney Springs. Don’t miss the specialty monthly offerings for May, with only a few days left to enjoy these treats!

Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.

Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.


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