Crust Us: New Bakery Incubator in Mt. Oliver is History in the Baking
A dash of ingenuity, a tablespoon of flavor and viola: The Bakery Society Pittsburgh is born.
An oven cooks and bakes food. An incubator nurtures life at conductive temperatures. The Bakery Society Pittsburgh, slated to open in May as the region’s first bakery incubator, is a merging of the two.
The Bakery Society Pittsburgh, abbreviated to TBSP as a nod to the unit of measure used in baking, follows a traditional incubator format in which they seek entrepreneurs looking to start new businesses and provide them with professional support and assistance.
After Kullman’s Bakery in Mt. Oliver closed in 2013, Economic Development South (EDS) funded a program called Sweet Saturdays in which bakers from across the community sold their goods in the old bakery. The popularity of the program whipped up an idea for EDS.
“Sweet Saturdays had such tremendous success that EDS said, ‘Why don’t we try to do this full time?’” says Hindes, marketing director for TBSP.
“TBSP is the very first of its kind; there really isn’t a bakery incubator anywhere else,” he says.
Out of over 80 applications for the first cohort of bakers-in-residence, TBSP chose four. These bakers-in-residence will work over an 18-month incubation period testing their products and honing their skills to one day open their own bakery. They are Sam Cobbett of Lawrenceville, Christina Decker of Squirrel Hill, Jewel Edwards of Downtown and Christopher Hoffman of Beechview.
Cobbett’s specialties are pretzels, croissants and paczki; Decker’s are cookies, tiramisu and parfait; Edwards’ is cheesecake, bread pudding and brownies; Hoffman’s is bread, specifically sourdough, according to The Incline.
In addition to bakers-in-residence, TBSP will be open to community bakers and tenant bakers. Community bakers can use the commercial and health department certificated facility to prepare their baked goods. Tenant bakers can also sell their products in TBSP space.
“We’re going to add a different flavor to the bakery options in the area,” says Hindes. “We’re dedicated to the community and we want to make it succeed so there will be art gallery releases, woodfire pizza nights and partnerships with farmer markets in the area.”
To attract residents and younger families to Mt. Oliver, TBSP’s promotions feature 90s song lyrics combined with bakery puns to engage their audience. So if you want to get with TBSP’s loafers, you have to get with their breads and crumb as you are to TBSP.