Gluten-free foodies in the Chicago/Evanston area were faced with the closure of one of their best gluten-free bakeries, until a good samaritan stepped forward with a business plan and a check.
Celiac.com 03/08/2013 - Gluten-free foodies in the Chicago/Evanston area were faced with the closure of one of their best gluten-free bakeries, until a good samaritan stepped forward with a business plan and a check.
This past Christmas looked bleak for Rose O'Carroll. The owner of Rose's Wheat Free Bakery and Cafe in Evanston, Illinois was slated to close her doors in the face of a $100,000 debt, until she struck a last minute deal with Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis to keep open the struggling business.
O'Carroll first met Lemonis a year and a half ago, when he began eating gluten-free by choice. After learning through a news article about the bakery's financial troubles, Lemonis contacted O'Carroll and pledged to help out.
O'Carroll has said that the bakery's financial troubles are due mainly to high labor costs necessary to produce high-quality gluten-free products.
After talking with O'Carroll, Lemonis realized that some easy and fast fixes can make the bakery profitable. One of them is new equipment that will speed production of the bakery's most popular items.
Lemonis says he doesn't believe in "making money by cutting jobs." Rather, he says he believes in "making money by increasing sales." With that in mind, he has written a check for $200,000 and established a working capital fund of about $150,000. He emphasizes that every worker will remain on the job.
Lemonis calls O'Carroll the epitome of a great baker and a great mind when it comes to baking, though, he adds, she may not have the best business acumen.
The rescue of Rose's Wheat Free Bakery and Cafe is not Lemonis' first brush with chartable business efforts.
As head of the world's largest RV owners association, Lemonis has appeared on "Secret Millionaire," the ABC show in which business executives provide surprise financial help to struggling communities. He has also appeared on Donald Trump's show, "Celebrity Apprentice."
Additionally, Lemonis recently purchased In the Raw, a gluten-free restaurant in Highland Park.