In baking, the golden brown crust on a well-baked loaf of bread is known as the “bloom.” Come late winter, Bloom will also be known as the place to go for premium breads, pastries and meals in two Cleveland locations all the while educating, training, employing and creating opportunities for meaningful self-sufficiency for people with barriers to employment.
Bloom Artisan Bakery & Café, a social venture from the non-profit organization Towards Employment, will open at 200 Public Square and 1938 Euclid Avenue on the Cleveland State University campus. Under the guidance of artisan baker Maurice Chaplais, student employees will learn craft baking techniques that produce high-caliber products.
“Bloom Bakery will distinguish itself by taking the time to perfect the art of baking,” says Chaplais, the bread consultant and teacher behind Flour Bag bakeries in the United Kingdom and Florida. “The effort to incorporate locally sourced ingredients and create delicious handcrafted treats demonstrates Bloom Bakery’s dedication to great taste and customer satisfaction. With this high level of preliminary attention to detail and commitment to the craft of baking, Bloom Bakery is primed to stand apart based on the quality of its food alone.”
Thanks to financial support from local organizations like The Cleveland Foundation and the Business of Good Foundation, Bloom will begin offering people opportunities to earn a wage, develop career skills, and move on to a full-time position elsewhere, thereby freeing space for the next candidate.
“We have found ‘learn and earn’ opportunities are needed as an effective workplace introduction for many Towards Employment students, especially those with the most challenging barriers to employment like a criminal background,” explains Towards Employment Executive Director Jill Rizika. “With our board’s endorsement, we agreed to identify a social enterprise that could provide rigorous on-the-job training, work experience and income for these students. Bloom Bakery is the best opportunity to meet these goals.”
Like EDWINS at Shaker Square, the operation will cycle a set number of students through the program each year.