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Bloom Bakery Closes, But Co-Founders Hope To Revive It In Another Form

The owners of Bloom Bakery announced the decision to close the business on Tuesday, doors shut by 4 p.m. Wednesday. [Matthew Richmond / ideastream]
photo of bloom bakery

Updated: Nov. 7, 2019; 10:58 a.m.

Bloom Bakery shut its doors Wednesday after Towards Employment, the bakery’s non-profit owner, decided it could accomplish its mission without running the two Downtown storefronts near Cleveland State University and Public Square.

Bloom Bakery opened in 2016, offering paid internships, training and jobs to people who had trouble finding them, including those who have been incarcerated or on public assistance.

“We’re very proud of what we accomplished in doing this, with 90 people going through and launching their careers,” said Jill Rizika, executive director of Towards Employment.

The non-profit owners learned about some of the challenges faced by the other businesses they work with, Rizika said, like getting people to come to work at 4 a.m. in the middle of a Cleveland winter.

“But still, as a social enterprise, it required some additional supports beyond what we were able to bring in through revenue,” Rizika said.

The non-profit may still look for other business ideas, Rizika said.

A few hours before the bakery closed its doors Wednesday, Towards Employment’s Bloom co-founders released a statement saying they hope to reopen the bakery soon.

“We were surprised at this announcement and would have been interested in acquiring the business if we had been given the opportunity,” Fahey Group founder Logan Fahey said in a statement.

Fahey and London-based chef Maurice Chaplais partnered with Towards Employment to launch Bloom but eventually parted ways. Fahey started the Fahey Group, a Strongsville-based management consulting and investment firm.

According to the Wednesday press release from the Fahey Group, a new management team of Fahey, Chaplais and Ellen Bruno, the original operations manager at Bloom and now the chief operating officer of the Fahey Group, intend to fire the bakery back up and even expand the concept in Cleveland and across Northeast Ohio.

Towards Employment said in a subsequent statement they are open to Fahey Group's proposal.

"Towards Employment and the Fahey Group want to jointly clarify that there is no agreement between the two to reopen Bloom Bakery, but that they are now in discussions with one another regarding the matter," the two organizations said in an early Thursday morning statement. Talks are only in the early stages, both groups clarified, and "any new business under Fahey Group’s leadership would be dedicated to the same concept of offering opportunities to individuals facing employment barriers, which was Bloom Bakery’s social mission."

Matthew Richmond is a reporter/producer focused on criminal justice issues at Ideastream Public Media.