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Letters to President Obama


Brian Noyes, Marshall, Virginia

February 8, 2016

Dear Mr. President:

I launched my rural bakery at the same time you started your presidency (we saluted you in a page A-2 ad in The Washington Post the day after your first inauguration, below). We’ve gone through some rough times, as you have; I had quit my job as art director of Smithsonian magazine to follow my dreams and create a Virginia Piedmont food destination—just as the Great Recession hit, the economy crumbled, my investors fled, and I was struck trying to make it happen on my own after renovating a small former 1921 Esso filling station, purchasing equipment and hiring staff.

With hard work and 18-hour days we kept the bakery afloat, although I stayed awake many nights worrying about paying suppliers and making payroll. We had launched a program working with local farmers to provide us with seasonal produce and dairy and, after they added new crops and new dairy items for us, I felt that they were part of listening to you and your team work to keep the economy afloat and I put my faith in your plans and your positive attitude. I must say it was rough going for us. It would have easier to lock the doors and shut the place down, but I stuck with it with hopes that the administration could turn things around.

I’m glad we hung on. I connected with the Small Business Majority in D.C., even being invited to a White House event with them. The economy finally improved, our sales went up, and we’re now shipping thousands of baked goods across the country (UPS says we’re their biggest shipper in Fauquier County) while helping to support several local farms. We’ve just opened our second location and have made it our new headquarters: it’s four times the size of our original gas station site, and is located in two adjoining historic mercantile buildings in Marshall, Virginia, just off I-66, giving us a sweet large dining and market area, and providing lots of room to grow our national shipping. Our staff has grown from four to 47.

We couldn’t have done this without the work of your administration; I know you were stuck with a crummy economy and I’m not sure how this would have turned out had others been in office instead. Thank you. Come see how things have worked out.

Best regards,

Brian Noyes


The President's Response

February 8, 2016

Dear Brian:

Thanks for your letter. It reached my desk, and I was struck by the determination that came across in every word—what a great story you have to tell! It’s clear you’ve worked hard to hold on to your dream, and it meant a lot to know my Administration’s work has made a difference for you and your business. It sounds like a whole lot of people across our Nation are glad you could keep your bakery open, and I’m looking forward to trying this pie out for myself.

You’re right that America has been through some tough times, but the grit and resilience of folks like you are the reason I’m so optimistic about our future. Your story speaks to the idea that our country is what we make of it, and it reminds me of what a tremendous privilege it is to serve in this Office. Thank you, again, for taking the time to share it with me.

All the best,

Barack Obama