Salt of the Earth

We talk with gritty, hilarious people who run successful small businesses.
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Salt of the Earth


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Jun 21, 2016

Allison Robicelli moves fast. The woman who got engaged only 6 weeks after meeting her husband and co-owner has opened a store in Brooklyn, closed it, grew a wholesale business, opened another store, wrote a book, closed another store, and is now building the prototype for a new franchise model in Baltimore.

Robicelli’s Bakery grew up during the Great Cupcake Movement in New York City during the 2010’s. But unlike the now-defunct Crumbs, Allison recognized the headaches involved with keeping up storefronts that only sell $4 cupcakes, and quickly transitioned her business to a wholesale business, baking top quality baked goods and selling those to restaurants and coffee shops.

Nowadays, Allison says that they are thinking 10 years down the road and she has a few predictions for the food industry. Especially where she operates in New York City, the food industry is a challenging place. “I know restaurants where it’s a packed house every night that are lucky if they make any money at the end of the year”. Increasingly, Allison sees food moving towards the delivery model with websites like Seamless and GrubHub doing well. Not just because it is economical to move restaurant operations away from high foot traffic (read: high rent) areas, but also because of the “No Pants Incentive”. Nowadays, more and more of us can work, socialize, entertain, and now feed ourselves from behind our computer screen. Hence, the incentive to wear pants is diminishing especially when your laptop provides all the leg warmth you need. Which is also an economical way to repurpose heat energy from your laptop. But I digress…

Robicelli’s had some really great thoughts in this one about where the food industry is going and what they are doing to adapt to that with their new franchise model in Baltimore. We think they’ll come out ahead. Why? Because we like eating cake with no pants on, that’s why.

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