Beloved British Baker Crowdfunding to Open Ben’s Bread Brick-And-Mortar in Tuscaloosa
A British baker already beloved for the bread he sells at local farmer's markets is asking for backers to help him open a brick-and-mortar bakery here in Tuscaloosa.
Ben Rosairo describes himself as a "Sri Lankan Brit" whose love for bread, bagels, bomboloni and more burst to life in 2015, when he was still living in the United Kingdom and faithfully watching the extremely popular Great British Baking Show.
Just as he began to lean into experiments with creating his own sourdough from scratch, his partner Sarah took a job working for the University of Alabama here in Tuscaloosa, and the couple crossed the Atlantic.
Undeterred, Rosairo succeeded in creating a new sourdough "starter," a fermented mix of flour and water added to homemade doughs to make them rise and got to work baking here in the Druid City, where few local artisans are baking at the scale he envisioned.
Rosairo says he got confident enough to sell bread and other treats at the Tuscaloosa Farmer's Market in January 2020 - just in time for the pandemic to arrive and ruin just about everyone's plans.
Ben's Bread, as his entrepreneurial enterprise inevitably came to be called, survived online, where people pre-ordered his goods and minimized face-to-face interaction.
"More than three years later, thanks to the support of my customers, I am sold out every week, often before I even arrive at the market," Rosairo wrote. "I owe my growth to the fact that my customers have always been willing to order ahead of the market. This community support has made building this business fun and so rewarding."
Now, with his following only growing, Ben's Bread is outgrowing its headquarters in the home he shares with Sarah and their son Milo.
"Operating at this level from home has become uncomfortable, and isn't sustainable. It’s time to take the next steps," he said on Kickstarter. "I dream of a space where I can unite all of my equipment, and really start to ramp things up."
To that end, Rosairo aims to open his own small-batch bakery here in Tuscaloosa, but that will require financial backing to the tune of $30,000. For that, Rosairo has turned to Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform where patrons can pledge to back the bakery in exchange for rewards including cooking classes, branded merchandise and, of course, a slew of baked treats.
UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 26: Ben's at goal! We can't wait to see what comes next!