Artisan bakery bringing in the dough for social good

A new artisan bakery with a noble mission is coming to Alameda.  Firebrand Artisan Breads of Oakland will be moving most of its production facilities to a renovated warehouse at Alameda Point in the coming months, bringing most of its 90 employees and hiring more. 

Customers know this bakery by the taste of its gourmet baked goods and deli selections.  Employees know this bakery by the taste of a life-changing opportunity for a good job. The company will employ up to 150 people striving to overcome employment barriers, such as previously being homeless and previously incarcerated.

Firebrand is a wholesale supplier to cafés, restaurants, and specialty grocery stores throughout the Bay Area, providing a high-quality line of traditional breads and pastries, baked fresh every day. They also operate a retail café at their flagship store on Broadway in Oakland. 

Firebrand’s “Whole Wheat Walnut Levain,” a sourdough bread made with organic wheat and rye flours and walnuts.

The new 40,000-square-foot production facility will allow for a seven-fold increase in production.  Outfitting the space with infrastructure is now underway. 

Steel wall framing visible inside.

“We are expecting production to come online in February or March of 2021, with retail a few months behind that,” said developer Joe Ernst of srmErnst Development Partners that owns the building.  “The design of the retail at Building 9 will be flexible and allow for a full cafe if that is what the location will ultimately support.”  

Funding for the $9.5 million expansion was helped along by a $500,000 working capital loan from San Francisco-based Roberts Enterprise Development Fund.  It is the only venture philanthropy in America that invests exclusively in the growth and effectiveness of social enterprises, where the bottom line is social return on investment.

Located at 707 West Tower Avenue, across the street from the Bladium Sports Club, Building 9 underwent a $24 million renovation project after the city sold it to srmErnst for $5.5 million in 2017.  The bakery lease means that the building will be fully occupied.  Firebrand Artisan Breads will be sharing the building with another tenant, which moved into their specially designed half of the building in 2019. 

“We hire from within our community to create a diverse and inclusive workplace,” states Firebrand’s website.  “Do you have a gap in your resume? Are you reentering the workforce? If the answer is yes, we’d love to meet you!”  Employees receive a full benefits package.

Firebrand’s almond croissant will soon be available fresh out of the oven at Alameda Point.

Originally published in the Alameda Sun.

Author: richard94501

My blog is Alameda Point Environmental Report covering environmental issues from wildlife to cleanup at the former Navy base in Alameda now called Alameda Point. Articles on my blog are frequently printed in the Alameda Sun newspaper. I also host a Twitter site and a Flickr photo site. I hope you find my stories and photos of interest. Richard Bangert Alameda, California

2 thoughts on “Artisan bakery bringing in the dough for social good”

  1. Great news!! Can hardly wait. Thank you for these newsy delights. I enjoy the images and details. I missed this in the Sun!

    Like

    1. Leora and other concerned parties – please send an email to heritageofalamedaneighbors@gmail.com. We would like to email you some alarming news regarding a local company and its employees threatening wildlife on Bay Farm where they continue to feed a colony of over 30 feral/stray cats.

      Like

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