A very unusual relationship has been struck up between OLV Human Services and Mazurek’s Bakery. The Old First Ward institution, which went up for sale earlier this year, has been purchased by OLV, lock stock and bakery. Moving forward, OLV will run the bakery much as it has been operated over the years, while implementing a vocational program for students ranging in age from 14 to 21, and adults interested in changing careers, and who have been “misplaced”.
The purchase opportunity will draw two community-minded organizations together, that will not only keep the legacy of the bakery intact, but will also open doors workforce development opportunities, which are now more important than ever. In order to establish a smooth transition, Ty Reynolds, former owner of Mazurek’s Bakery, will stay onboard for the time being, to make sure that the new owners are well-prepared to take over the longstanding business. Reynolds and business partner Nick Smith will continue to operate their 7Yum6 food truck, which might some day afford additional vocational opportunities for OLV’s vocational programming.
“The opportunity piqued our interest several months ago,” said Cindy Lee, CEO, OLV Human Services, who also noted that the venture pays homage to the legacy of human services started by Father Nelson Baker more than 160 years ago. “The purchase of the bakery is for-profit – a sole standing venture for us.”
Sharon Cavanaugh, Chief Community Development Officer at OLV Human Services, made mention that this is the sort of venture that has the ability to “foster miracles” – something that is synonymous with the workings of Father Baker whose selfless impact upon Buffalo is known far and wide.
“The organization and business are both familiar to the area,” Cavanaugh imparted. “The integrity of the bakery is going to continue. The building and the business piece will stay true to the loyal customers. The growth will come in teaching youth how to run a business.”
Ultimately, OLV will become a wholesale account of Mazurek’s, while the organization sources additional accounts. There are numerous economic aspects of the business that will allow students to test the waters, to see where they fit in, including product development in years to come. Evaluations will also be held right onsite. Already, students are intimately engaged with the operation. Today they are hosting a Father Baker’s Dozen sale, where the 13th donut is free, for National Donut Day.
The decision to purchase the bakery was not a lighthearted one. Members of the OLV team conducted a lot of legwork, researching business models, while seeking council on marketing and other strategic operational elements. At the same time, OLV is not new to the food business – they operate a cafeteria, and conduct catering. With short-term transitional help from Ty Reynolds, the bakery should continue to operate seamlessly, while directly benefitting the Old First Ward community.
Mazurek’s Bakery | 543 South Park | Buffalo NY | 716-853-7833 | Facebook