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Supporter loans let Five Points Bakery bypass banks

Five Points Bakery, the field-to-loaf West Side baked goods emporium, is planning another expansion, funded by its customers.

Raising dough from their community is how Melissa and Kevin Gardner bought the building at 44 Brayton St. in the first place. Customers and other supporters lent them $300,000 to set up shop in the century-old building.

Now customers are helping the Gardners have their wish and open the second floor to parties, events and weekend seating. With the addition of a second staircase, and another exit, it will be linked to a backyard patio open for events as well.

That'll cost about $150,000, and more than $110,000 has already been raised, Kevin Gardner said. The Gardners' supporters get 5 percent interest on 10-year notes.

Sharp cheddar cheese bread from Five Points Bakery in the West Side. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Five Points Bakery's owners have succeeded in making bread their own way. They only use whole-grain flour they grind themselves, from wheat they have grown for them nearby.

The flour is soaked before it's used, making it more agreeable to gluten sensitives and making its nutrients more available, Gardner said.

The couple appreciates being able to rely on their customers and supporters without having to pay the high interest rates on standard construction loans, he said.

"There are a lot of people who have small investments that are only making a couple percent, if that," Gardner said. "People like to move that investment into something local, make more money, and support a great local business."

It also makes the business owners feel grateful to be part of a community that wants to help, said Gardner. "It just blew us away."

Five Points Bakery expanding, looking for like-minded business

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