Whole Earth Bakery Uses Crowdfunding to Stay Afloat



Peter Silvestri started Whole Earth Bakery with his mother back in 1978. Together they ran an all-vegan bakery and served sweet and savory goods out of a storefront on Spring Street. “That was before Soho became ‘Soho,'” said Silvestri.

After Hurricane Sandy, the loss of goods combined with mounting rent bills led Silvestri to LuckyAnt, a crowd-sourcing website like GoFundMe or SmallKnot, to help support his shop, now on St. Marks Street.

Whole Earth prides itself on being the first vegan bakery in the city and specializes in vegan cheesecakes and pizzas. But Silvestri said business has been “quite off” since the hurricane.

“Some locations are serving one thing, and people flock to them,” he said. “Then there are a lot of people who serve specialty products like us . . .” He trailed off.

Silvestri said there have been “too many evictions” in recent months due to increases in rent, and he’s hoping to avoid that fate.The funds raised online would go toward replenishing goods lost during Sandy’s power outage and mounting rent bills.

Other small businesses hit hard by Hurricane Sandy have had success with crowd-funding. But in just 16 days, Whole Earth hopes to raise $10,000.

“We’re like a lot of people who have gone through this. In some cases you get hit at the wrong point and the wrong time,” Silvestri said.

Earlier this year, Silvestri solicited donations through Facebook and PayPal to help the struggling business to help make rent. With dedicated customers, the bakery was able to stay open and make it to the winter months.

“We’ve been shaking and baking for a while, and that’s what we’re trying to keep doing,” Silvestri said. “We just want to shake and bake.”