Found niche: A family-run market carves a place for itself in the local food scene

Found Market owners (and family members) Cindy, Elliott, and Kelsey Gillan. (Photo: John Robinson) Found Market owners (and family members) Cindy, Elliott, and Kelsey Gillan. (Photo: John Robinson)

Found Market is in its slow season.

The bakery, eatery, and marketplace started as a basement-based shortbread outlet, and its giftable goods and sundry stock make it a natural stop for holiday shoppers. Over the last several months, Found has been going all out, not looking at the forest for fear the trees would fall on them.

“The holidays are our crazy season,” says Elliott Gillan, who owns the market with his mom, Cindy, and sister, Kelsey. “But it’s given us a good chance to figure out what is truly our max capacity. Now that we can gather ourselves, we have an opportunity to regroup.”

While they regroup, the Gillans have thought a lot about what their close-knit business is exactly. The answer? “Complex.”

The family still sells its shortbread—flavors include classic honey, pecan button, salted rosemary, almond espresso, and many more—items that go well with shortbread, and other baked goods. But Found is also a sandwich joint, gourmet grocery, and gift shop.

Oh, and they’ve got plants. Lots of plants.

“The common thread is basically what we have done our whole life,” Elliott Gillan says. “I grew up on an organic farm where we raised our own herbs and had plants all around the house, so it’s not weird to incorporate them. We see this place as a reflection of us.”

The organic-farming Gillans started baking for crowds about seven years ago as The Bees Knees Kitchen. Their shortbread caught on, and the family ran a home oven 24/7 to keep up with demand between catering gigs. Three years ago, they opened their brick-and-mortar spot in the former C’ville Market location, with mom Cindy creating recipes while handling the bookkeeping, sister Kelsey overseeing marketing and online orders, and brother Elliott running the kitchen day-to-day.

The Gillan’s current 3,000 square foot space, tucked into a Carlton Road strip mall, is 10 times bigger than their previous bakehouse. But the spacious new digs come at a cost. Found doesn’t get the foot traffic other lunch locations enjoy. So the Gillans have tried to make themselves a destination marketplace.

“We wanted to create an environment…a communal space. Trying to find that on the Downtown Mall would be a million dollars a month,” Elliott Gillan says. “I always say we’re like a feeling, a space where people want to just be for different reasons.”

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