First Black owned sliced bread company started by 3 Kenwood Academy graduates giving back to South Side community


CHICAGO (CBS)– Some businesses are about more than making money — they’re about giving back to the communities.

That’s the case with the first-ever Black-owned sliced bread company that was started by a group of friends from right here in Chicago.

The greatest thing since sliced bread. You might have said it, without even knowing it dates back to 1928. That’s when the first pre-sliced packaged bread was sold.

“What’s crazy is it took 100 years for Black people to be part of this industry,” Charles Alexander of the Black Bread Company. “To reap the benefits of our families and our community eating bread every day.”

The Black Bread Company launched in February of 2021 to commemorate Black History Month. Now, these three friends and fathers from Chicago’s South Side are one year in the game. 

They are not just selling, they are serving. 

“You can start a business, be successful in business and still be about your people and where you come,” Alexander said. 

As products of Chicago Public Schools, all graduates of Kenwood Academy, they’re teaching the lessons learned in all those loaves to CPS students.

“Thirty for 30,” Alexander said. “Our goal is to hit 30 CPS schools in 30 days or more. Free of charge. We just want to come and show love to inspire and motivate and say we were in those seats and look what we did.”

The team also hires interns through a partnership with Phalanx Family Services — which connects South Side youth to careers.

In their biggest move yet, the guys are now offering a slice of their success through an equity crowdfunding campaign.

For $2.78 per share and a minimum buy-in of $250.20, you can invest. And within just 45 days…

“Over a thousand investors and over $700,000 dollars in investments, so now our community has a stake in our company,” Jamal Lewis said. 

The owners said they received emails from first-time investors. 

So any way you slice it, the bread business is looking up for this trio as they lift up those around them.

“We’re proud of that, being part of our community learning and growing together and being open to new ideas and ownership,” Lewis said. 

The bread is distributed from a warehouse in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. And now sold in 70 stores across Chicagoland, plus shipped internationally. The Black Bread Company was just valued at $51 million.

You can learn more about their crowdfunding campaign going on right now on the Black Bread Company’s website. 



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