Vegan ice cream brand Cajou Creamery was recently selected as the winner of a storefront competition, allowing the company to open its first brick-and-mortar location in Baltimore, MD. Sponsored by the Market Center Merchants Association and property developers Poverni Sheikh and Charles Street Development Corp., the contest invited small businesses to apply for a year of free rent in one of three spaces ranging from 664 to 779 square feet in size. Cajou was one of two winning concepts, chosen for its high-quality products, business acumen, and commitment to transitioning to a worker-owned co-operative.
Founded by husband-and-wife team Dwight and Nicole Foster, Cajou offer handcrafted almond and cashew ice cream that is free of chemicals, artificial flavors, and fillers, in globally inspired flavors such as Horchata, Baklava, Mexican Cacao, and Kulfi. In the last two years, the company has grown from a home kitchen to a commercial kitchen and is now sold in Baltimore City’s most popular farmer’s markets, gourmet grocers, restaurants, and hotels.
“Cajou Creamery’s new space on Howard Row will be a significant opportunity to continue educating people on the benefits and deliciousness of plant-based foods. This particular area of Howard Row is located in a food-insecure area, and Cajou Creamery will allow patrons to experience various plant-based or plant-forward options,” Nicole Foster said. “Moreover, Cajou Creamery will be instrumental in efforts to revitalize the area and restore it to its original charm as a business enclave ensconced in a historically preserved neighborhood.”
Cajou has raised nearly $23,000 in a crowdfunding campaign that will allow the founders to build out the new space and expand operations by securing a larger batch freezer and offering regional and national shipping. The shop—which will serve as Cajou’s retail and production space–is slated to open this fall.