MANSFIELD: The Untimely Demise of Bloom Bakery

The press release reads, “Launched in 2016 by Towards Employment, Bloom Bakery served three purposes: prepare individuals who have faced barriers to employment for a career in culinary arts; produce exceptional handcrafted baked goods; and create meaningful career opportunities for individuals beyond Bloom so the Greater Cleveland community can prosper.” A noble mission indeed.

The question then is — why did it fail? In what Towards Employment characterized as a “difficult decision” the bakery will cease operations at the end of this week. “In almost four years of business, Bloom has delivered on these goals, providing 90 people training, paid internships and employment during its operation. Bloom also had a huge impact on raising awareness Towards Employment’s mission — making personal connections to the importance of creating opportunities for returning citizens and young people with barriers to employment,” the press release continued. So, again, why did it fail?

Ironically, the bakery’s closing comes about a week after the launching of the “Cleveland Rising” initiative and should serve as a sobering wake-up call to the organizers and leaders of the effort that ostensibly is designed to improve the lives of all Greater Clevelanders. So, for the third time I ask, why did the bakery fail?

If the good folks behind Cleveland Rising can’t figure out why Bloom didn’t survive then the chances of them successfully carrying out their mission of uplifting Cleveland is indeed doubtful. This is a business that personified Cleveland at its intentional finest.

At a cursory glance the answer is quite obvious: Not enough Clevelanders purchased baked goods from Bloom to keep the doors open. But why not, given the mission of the bakery?

The “why not?” part is what the folks behind Cleveland Rising are going to have to figure out.

It’s one thing for folks to attend résumé-enhancing meetings and plan elaborate strategies to attack the social ills plaguing Cleveland, but evidently it’s quite another to plunk down your money for a blueberry muffin, or better yet, make sure that caterers, event planners, and others that could assure the purchase bakery products in sufficient quantities to keep Bloom Bakery alive actually did so.

This should be an initial project for the Cleveland Rising crew: Figure out how to assist a worthwhile organization like Towards Employment in reopening Bloom Bakery, and this time making it a financial success by adding the yeast of social commitment to the recipe.

This should be considered a test of the resolve and commitment of the Cleveland Rising team; let’s see what they can do.

From CoolCleveland correspondent Mansfield B. Frazier Frazier’s From Behind The Wall: Commentary on Crime, Punishment, Race and the Underclass by a Prison Inmate is available in hardback. Snag your copy and have it signed by the author at http://NeighborhoodSolutionsInc



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