Work We Do: Paige Thomas, Gingerbread University

My name is Paige Thomas and I am the manager of Gingerbread University.

I come in the morning about an hour or so before we open. I open the register, I make sure all the kits are ready for the day. We bring the houses into this building. We have our production area in a different area. Then we make sure the tables are cleaned and we set up the kits, and make sure everything is stocked. 

We start our reservations at 10 a.m., the last one is at 5 p.m., so we’re open until 6. Right now I’m here five to six days a week.

When a party comes in, we make sure everything’s set up before they come in. We have pizza and cupcakes for them. We give a short demonstration about how to use our icing. We hold it from the top like a carrot and then you twist it as you go down so you can use more icing.

We give you the candy kit; everything you need to decorate. We have jelly beans, spice drops, M&Ms, Smarties, all the good stuff.

It’s very rewarding. It’s definitely very different from working retail, which I’ve worked in the past, because we put a smile on people’s faces. You’re responsible for their experience.

If they want extra candy, we just give it to them because we want to put a smile on their face. We’ll say, here’s an extra gingerbread man or something small to put a smile on a kid’s face or even an adult’s face. We have adults come in here all the time who just smile, because it’s a happy place to be.

I loved this as soon as I walked in. The atmosphere is very happy. It’s something that I was looking for.

We receive hundreds of calls and emails a day because everyone wants to get in here. It’s very exclusive I guess you could say.

“The Work We Do” is a Suffolk Times multimedia project profiling workers on the North Fork. It is made possible by Peconic Landing. See more photos on Instagram @riverheadnewsreview.