U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer announced last week $4.6 million in federal funding for Bread Alone, which is in the process of moving its commercial bakery headquarters from Boiceville to Lake Katrine. The business loan guaranteed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture will assist the company’s purchase of a 26,000-square-foot facility at 2105 Ulster Avenue, which will be converted into a bakery and retail outlet.
“This funding is the yeast that literally raises the dough, not only for Bread Alone, but for the local community as well,” said Schumer in a press release. “I applaud the USDA rural development program for making this pivotal investment in an importantHudsonValleybusiness and community partner like Bread Alone.”
According to Schumer’s office, the loan caries a 2 percent interest rate for the first two years, after which the rate would be set between 2.5 and 5 percent.
Nels Leader, Bread Alone’s vice-president and chief operating officer and son of business founder Dan Leader, said it’s important to clarify that Bread Alone has yet to put pen to paper to seal the deal. “The USDA approved the package, but we haven’t signed the paperwork yet,” Leader explained. “The option is on the table, but I don’t want the word on the street to be that it’s signed, sealed and delivered because that’s not accurate yet.”
Nels Leader doesn’t see anything preventing Bread Alone from signing the paperwork, but the bakery company wants to be certain of the details before doing so. “Everything looks great, and I’m knocking on wood,” Leader said. “But I’ve seen too many instances of things changing at the last minute, and we’re so enthusiastic and optimistic that I want to save the celebration until we have a check in hand and we’re ready to move forward.”
Leader said that with the assistance of the Ulster County Development Corporation Bread Alone had been exploring funding options for moving the business’ baking facilities from Boiceville for a year and a half.
The possibility of USDA funding has been in the picture since earlier this year. “We have been working on the USDA application for maybe six months now, so it’s been a long process learning about the program, understanding if it was a good fit for what we wanted to do, and speaking to the potential lending partners and fully going through with the application,” Leader said.
Part of the appeal of the USDA program was that it wouldn’t require Bread Alone to alter its plans in any way to be eligible for the funding. “It’s really a great match of what the program’s goals are and what our goals are, so we didn’t have to make any adjustments to our plans at all,” Leader said. “Their development goals are very much in line with what we want to do with the business.”
Bread Alone had been considering a move to New Jersey to meet its growing production needs. The firm has outgrown the 7,000-square-foot Boiceville bakery facility which has been its home base for nearly 30 years. Converting the former Clarke American check manufacturing building in Lake Katrine into a bakery, distribution center and café will allow Bread Alone to keep up with increasing demand.Bread Alone’s café in Boiceville will remain open, Leader said. It also has retail locations in Rhinebeck and Woodstock. Its products are in supermarkets locally, in the New York City metropolitan area, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Bread Alone has also continued expanding its presence at farmers’ markets, including several in Manhattan and Brooklyn.Bread Alone plans to employ 45 production workers, 23 café workers and eight office staffers at its new location. Bread Alone owner Dan Leader said the company will not have to lay off employees in the move.
Earlier this year, a $600,000 grant was received through the governor’s office to help cover the cost of a 1605-foot sewer-line extension on Ulster Avenue which will be used by and otherwise paid for by Bread Alone and Central Hudson. The sewer line will also be available for a fee to 15 other properties.