Imagine taking the leap to open your own business only to be interrupted by a global pandemic.
That’s what happened to Ian Herrington, who has spent the last several years honing his craft while working at On The Rise, the Cleveland Heights bakery that recently made Food & Wine’s list of “100 Best Bakeries.”
After eight years, learning the ropes and working his way up to head baker, Herrington was ready to launch his own concept. “Once I felt more comfortable with my abilities as a baker and as a leader, I decided it was time to give it a go,” Herrington says.
Enter COVID-19, which has forced the would-be entrepreneur to make some quick decisions to keep his dream alive. Fans of Ian’s work can get a taste of his talents in the interim. Several bakery products are available for sale each week online, and he’s temporarily baking out of the Cleveland Bagel Co. space in Midtown. Herrington communicates his weekly offerings on Instagram, where his tantalizing visuals of cinnamon buns, scones, and artisan breads ensure a sell-out each week.
Undaunted, and fueled by a hyper-local crowdfunding campaign through Honeycomb Credit, Herrington hopes to stay on track for a summer 2020 opening of a permanent storefront on Scranton Road in Tremont. Honeycomb Credit offers small businesses the opportunity to raise capital by inviting investors, many of whom are members of the immediate community, who wish to bolster small business development. For as little as $100, an artisan bakery aficionado can invest in the bakery’s future and see future dividends when Herrington gets on his feet.
Dora Rankin, Honeycomb’s Cleveland City Manager, felt that this neighborhood bakery concept was something they could get behind. “I was actually following Ian’s story for quite a while before we finally talked about Honeycomb being a good fit for Leavened,” she says. “Leavened is a true Main Street business, surrounded by a community that supports local; that’s what we are all about. It only made sense for us to come together and gather the community to invest in his growth.”
Until the retail location is completed, Herrrington is whetting this neighborhood’s appetite with bread deliveries and a selection of items for pickup on Wednesdays and Saturdays. “I want them to know we’re on our way,” he says. “The people of Cleveland will have the neighborhood bakery they’ve deserved.”
He’ll work with other local businesses to source his ingredients and will also work with a Cleveland coffee roaster. Herrington sees the bakery being a place where people can pick up some weekly staples, a lunchtime sandwich, and or an after-school treat. Herrington is especially excited to share a fermented baguette that offers complex flavors he says is unlike anything people have tasted in other retail establishments.
“My goal for Leavened is to be your favorite corner café, filled with the amazing aromas of fresh baked breads and pastry,” Herrington says. “I want people to come in, feel relaxed, and order a latte and a croissant, and sit and watch the world go by.”