Allan’s Bakery in the heart of Brooklyn is a staple of the community for serving up much more than sweet treats and patties.
“That’s where I get my breakfast, my lunch, my dinner. I love the cake, I love the bread, Everything is wonderful in there” said a customer.
The bakery, located in the Little Caribbean section of Brooklyn has served the community for over 50 years. Sharon Smith, a third-generation owner and daughter of Allan says that the secret to success is loving what they do.
“My mom, coming from a Jamaican background, it’s more like the fruit bun and the cheese, and the beef patty, so she implemented a couple things with that, how it should taste, how it should look. With that background you know my being from Vincy and Trinidadian he’s really with currant rolls, the Hardo bread, the hops you name it” says Smith.
When the Covid-19 cases forced most New York City establishments to shut down, Allan’s was deemed an essential business and remained open throughout the pandemic.
“It was very stressful because people were going through stuff, people were losing friends, family members, parents, daughters, even just thinking about it, I’m feeling a little emotional. My heart goes out to anyone who has really been suffering, Just really try to be positive, I just wish everyone well, it is not an easy thing to deal with” said Smith
“I come to work at 4:30 in the morning, it’s been very busy, throughout the whole pandemic there was only one day I stayed out”, says bakery employee Keith Antone.
Masks, gloves and sanitizers, have always been essential for their employees but the prices for these items and ingredients have nearly doubled in recent months. Sharon says they have chosen to eat the cost because they would prefer not to raise prices for customers who are already experiencing a difficult time. Instead, they find ways to give back.
“This year has really made an impact, so much racial stuff going on. You gotta do what you can do. There’s no way that we would let that go by and not participate in that.” says Smith.
The response to their philanthropy in donating well over $3,000 to organizations Black Lives Matter, The Okra Project, The Black Trans community and Bakers Against Racism on social media has been mixed. “We get a positive response, every now and then we get a little negative” said Smith.
Activism through community service and fundraising is a recurring undertaking “quote” Even donating over 200 loaves of hardo bread with NYS Assemblywoman Diana Richardson every Friday.
“This is something that no one could be prepared for so whatever we can do to make it better, that’s what we are looking to do,” says Smith.
Allan’s is open Tuesday through Sunday and on the menu with every delivery service in the neighborhood.