The Perfect Bite Brings Local Tastes to Hermitage

HERMITAGE, Pa. – As franchisees of two food chains, Ron and Lori Taylor always wanted to own their own business.

On Wednesday, the couple officially cut the ribbon at The Perfect Bite, in Hermitage, Pa. The business opened on June 29 and held a soft opening the previous week. The independent cafe joins their four Edible Arrangements and three The Simple Greek locations.

The Perfect Bite, 2429 E. State St., sells coffee, smoothies and desserts. The space used to be one of the couple’s Edible Arrangements and sits next to one of their Simple Greek restaurants.

The Taylors added a door between connecting their two restaurants so customers could get a cup of coffee in the morning and a meal, or they could grab dessert after dinner.

“We’ll get back there. We’ll get to that point where we’ll be able to do that,” Ron Taylor said. “That’s why we wanted to create a pass-through right here. People can sit [in The Simple Greek], enjoy and hopefully create some synergies.”

Lori and Ron Taylor (center) join staff and Mercer County officials to cut the ribbon to The Perfect Bite.

The Taylors invested $50,000 into The Perfect Bite, including a renovation of the location and purchase of equipment. The Perfect Bite has around 10 employees, featuring baristas trained by Branch Street Coffee owner Matt Campbell.

Campbell and the Taylors became acquainted after The Simple Greek opened next to Branch Street Coffee in Boardman. The Perfect Bite carries Branch Street’s coffee, and the pairing with desserts made perfect sense, according to Lori Taylor.

“We’re big fans,” Lori Taylor said. “We love coffee anyway, so we were just looking for an opportunity to blend coffee and sweets, and then we have the whole smoothie side of it. That’s always been a favorite of ours, too.”

Branch Street Coffee’s success and Campbell’s relationship with the Taylors was a key reason for the partnership. Ron Taylor said those factors also dictate what companies he works with. Currently, he is trying to strike a deal to carry mini muffins from Maggies Magic Muffins so Hermitage residents don’t have to drive to Boardman for the baked goods.

“We are very discerning with who we like to work with, but there are some great other local business owners that really create some fantastic products and we’d love to offer them here in the store,” he said. 

Cake bites from The Perfect Bite

Despite opening his own business, Ron Taylor has taken on a larger role in The Simple Greek. He was named The Simple Greek franchise’s chief operating officer in November after opening his first franchised location in Boardman in 2017.

Ron Taylor said Marcus Lemonis, owner of The Simple Greek and several other franchises, wanted The Simple Greek system to be run by its franchisees. Shortly after taking over, Ron Taylor began training new franchisees and managers in a space behind the Hermitage location.

“Once we took over in November, we knew we were going to move the corporate office to the Youngstown-area market,” Ron Taylor said. “We also knew we needed a training facility for new franchisees and certified managers.”

William Moder, president of Hermitage’s Board of Commissioners, said the addition of the training site is a positive for the local economy.

“He was telling me that he had somebody in from Montgomery, Ala., last week,” Moder said. “That brings in people, brings in somebody that’s going to have to stay in a hotel, eat at a restaurant and it imports capital … plus a reputation. It puts you on the map.”

It wasn’t a smooth start for the Taylors. The Perfect Bite was originally supposed to open in March, but the Coronavirus led to delays in equipment shipments. Lori Taylor, however, thinks everything “works out the way it should” and is focused on building the company.

“We’re just excited to be here and actually operating and to see a lot of the community coming in and trying us,” Lori Taylor said. “It’s actually worked out really well.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.