Vegan bakery Crust recently opened a storefront in Philadelphia, PA. Though the bakery has been operating in a catering capacity since 2015, delivering to more than 50 shops in and around the city, owners Shannon Roche and Meagan Benz decided to invest in a retail storefront to keep their staff employed during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. 

“We have made a ton of efforts during the pandemic to keep our entire staff paid while they waited to receive unemployment for over a month—and also several of our staff were entirely denied any form of unemployment who we paid their full wage even when there was not anywhere near full-time work,” Roche told VegNews. “We have done everything from selling merch and contactless deliveries every weekend to selling our recipes on our website. When none of this was going to be enough, we invested in opening a retail storefront.”

In addition to its online catering menu, Crust offers exclusive in-store treats such as muffins, scones, cookies, and cookie sandwiches in rotating flavors, as well as specialty items such as cake slices, pies, pop tarts, biscuit sandwiches, and cinnamon buns. The store’s menu changes each day based on what ingredients are available, and a portion of sales is often donated to local causes and charities. 

Crust’s recent opening weekend saw a socially distanced line of customers wrapped around the block, and it sold out early each day. “We thought we had prepared enough food for the entire weekend, but we sold out early on Saturday and had to work overnight rebaking the entire menu to open again Sunday morning,” Roche said. “We were able to pay our September rent with the opening weekend’s sales. Our hearts are full of gratitude for everyone who came out to support us and we felt warmly welcomed to Main Street.”

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