Bramble Baking Co. is closing down its Harford Road storefront on July 16 with its owner citing burnout and high operating costs as the reasons to shutter.

In a letter emailed to customers and posted on the bakery’s website, owner Allie Smith wrote that the business, which started out as a pop-up in 2017, “isn’t personally sustainable.”

“I haven’t written or spoken publicly about this because it’s emotional, it’s messy, and it might seem contradictory,” Smith wrote. “Bakeries are sweet places, and in pop culture, their owners do not tend to succumb to bone-crushing ennui.”

She added: “As many a food business owner before me, I’ve simply run out of steam and chronic health issues abound.”

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Smith detailed some of the financial stressors on the young business, which launched its Hamilton location in 2021, including higher wages and health insurance costs as well as food prices. “The ways capitalism stands in the way of ethical decision-making in the food industry are myriad, and I have always told myself that if the bakery can’t authentically support its workers, maybe it shouldn’t exist,” she wrote.

Smith said that she had reached out to BRED, the Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy, to explore the possibility of shifting to collective ownership, a route taken by several other local food service businesses in recent years. But, she said: “Even with these resources, we came to the decision that it’s just not the right time for anyone else to sign onto the risks and debts.”

The building at 5414 Harford Road was previously home to Batch Bake Shop and before that, Hamilton Bakery. In her letter, Smith said the space is available for lease.

christina.tkacik@thebaltimorebanner.com

Christina Tkacik is the food reporter for The Baltimore Banner. A former Baltimore Sun reporter, she has covered the city's dining scene as well as crime and politics. 

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