"Creating jobs is our secret ingredient."
Such is the slogan of Bloom Bakery
, a downtown entity that offers premium pastries and breads as well as opportunities for Clevelanders facing employment barriers. Now the social venture is asking for a little extra "dough" to continue its mission.
Last week, Bloom Bakery launched a $25,000 Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign
to provide capital for its Campus District location
at 1938 Euclid Ave. (The bakery has another
shop at 200 Public Square.) Funding will go to hiring additional staff, says Logan Fahey, Bloom Bakery co-founder and general manager.
"Our reason for doing (crowdfunding) was to get the community involved," says Fahey. "We rely on the consumer to find us and appreciate the mission."
Supporters can pre-purchase coffee, lunch, corporate catering, and exclusive baking lessons before the campaign ends June 10. Bloom Bakery is a benefit corporation - essentially a hybrid of a standard corporation and a nonprofit - owned by Towards Employment,
a Cleveland nonprofit that offers job training and placement as well as removal of employment barriers for people previously involved in the criminal justice system.
All revenue from Bloom Bakery goes to Towards Employment's job readiness programs. Meanwhile, the bakery educates, trains and employs low-income and disadvantaged adults for work as bakers, baristas and other positions. Entry-level jobs pay $8 to $10 hourly, with opportunities available for upward mobility within the company.
"Our sole purpose is to give a second chance to individuals who otherwise wouldn't get one," Fahey says. "These jobs can be resume builders or allow people to move onto supervisory positions here."
Bloom Bakery currently has 15 staff members, ranging in age from their 20s to early 60s. New employees are vetted through Towards Employment programming, then undergo another month of training at the bakery.
As of this writing, the social venture's crowdfunding effort has reached 10 percent of its goal. Fahey and his fellow staff members will spend the next couple of weeks pushing the campaign via social media and word-of-mouth. The ultimate goal is to become the state's best bakery while continuing to operate as a "business with a heart."
"There's a large segment of the population in need of an opportunity," says Fahey. "If we become the best bakery, then we can create as many jobs as we want."
The ECDI Cleveland is part of Fresh Water's underwriting support community.