Love brought Sadie Scheffer to San Francisco, but loaves keep her there.
“I moved to San Francisco to follow a boy that I liked, and he had a gluten allergy,” says Scheffer, who relocated from the East Coast in the summer of 2009. “I started baking just to get him to hang out with me, and it turned into a pretty serious hobby.”
About two years in, Scheffer figured out she, too, was sensitive to gluten. Coping with it, however, “turned out to be really easy because I already knew how to bake.”
Around this time, Scheffer began studying the history of bread. “I tried to carry over the traditional practices of bread baking to gluten-free baking,” she says. In August 2011, she launched Bread SRSLY in her apartment. She baked 13 loaves the first week, selling them mostly to family and friends, and only one to a stranger. But with each passing week, as word of mouth spread, Scheffer soon had more mouths to feed. And that led to the start of Bread SRSLY’s local delivery service.
“We have a mixed suite of bikes and cars now,” she says, “but for more than a year, we delivered bread exclusively by bicycle.”
Today, Scheffer is cooking for more than just her longtime boyfriend. She now provides gluten-free breads and muffins to various San Francisco-area grocery stores and food purveyors, including Rainbow Grocery and Bi-Rite Market. In an effort to continue expanding her operation, she recently applied recently to Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign.
“My wish is to purchase a custom die cutter for manufacturing my bread packaging,” she wrote. “I make gluten-free sourdough and package it in compostable paper bags instead of plastic. Sometimes the loaves rise too much in the ovens and rip the paper when I try to package them. Those loaves can’t be sold to grocery stores. This die will cut a custom-sized bag that will fit even the biggest loaves! I’ll be able to send loaves to grocery stores without the food or packaging waste.”
When it came to fulfilling Scheffer’s wish, Intuit didn’t, er, loaf around. It awarded her a grant this week.
“This is wonderful,” she says. “I am honored. Thank you so much!”
If Scheffer’s track record is any indication of future success, the gluten-free baker will take Bread SRSLY to some seriously new heights.
“I’m really excited to take it statewide sometime in the next three years probably,” she says. “I’m just really excited to start scaling up and learning how to deal with the bigger stores. It’s really important to have the packaging really exemplify the brand, because I won’t be there to personally meet everyone who buys the bread anymore.”
Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign is announcing one winner a day through May 24, 2013. Check out the list of current winners, and find out if yours is one of the wishes we’ve granted!