The Protein Bakery

Can you give us a little background on how your business came to life? 

It all started when I lost 82 pounds. Before that my self-esteem was low and I could feel I was not living up to my potential, so I had to make a big change. Started therapy, so I understood why I was struggling. Focused on moving more, and I moved so much I became a leading fitness instructor in San Francisco and now Manhattan.  And I had to change my understanding of food. I changed the way I was eating, but still had a sweet tooth. In 1999 I found nothing balanced about bakery items, so I was the first to create the concept. Balanced nutrition is the key to healthier eating and is the mission of the The Protein Bakery. Everyone deserves a cookie, just one that’s more fresh baked with balanced nutritious ingredients, making it better for them.  

Which moment or experience (if you had to pick one) was the most impactful in turning your business into a reality? 

Our very first Valentine’s Day in business we were chosen by Henri Bendel’s to be the featured product at the entrance of their Fifth Avenue store. The moment customers walked in, they were welcomed with tons of high-protein bakery goods with fit muscle boys and girls handing out samples. I was there every day and met an editor for Elle magazine. She put us in the magazine a few months later with Heidi Klum on the cover and called us “smart food”.  

What inspires you on an everyday basis?   

Healthy living, especially in this day and age, it’s not easy. It’s downright difficult. I see the look in peoples faces wanting to make better choices. Wanting to not feel deprived and to eat real delicious food with more nutritious value. They also want to be motivated to move and to work out. Whether I’m teaching a fitness class or providing somebody a cookie, it motivates me every day to be part of the solution. 

What does it mean to you being a small / minority business owner in New York City? 

This is my personal American dream come true. I moved from the Castro in San Francisco to Chelsea in Manhattan in 1996. I wanted to leave my mark on New York and thrive, not just survive. Being a proud gay business owner since 1999 is the thrill of a lifetime that gives back to my life and staff every day. 

What does it mean to you when organizations like the Knicks and Chase support smaller local owned businesses like yourself? 

Much like when I was featured as an Oprah‘s favorite thing, exposure to a whole new audience keeps my doors open and spreads the healthier of my business. The financial support helps me to solve some of the challenges over the past five years. This gives me a little breathing room to enjoy what I really do love doing. 

What does it mean to you to be a part of the Knicks & Chase Small Business Roster? 

For the first time, The Protein Bakery is being presented to professional athletics (and people who love them) on a huge scale like never before. The Protein Bakery is for the athlete in everyone, and this spotlight puts us in partnership with the top athletes on the planet. It also puts my business in front of people that could take The Protein Bakery to a new level. Imagine if a major company like Pillsberry or Pepperidge Farms takes my company under their wing, and we fly beyond my imagination with my brand and my unique product line.  

What important things do you think small business owners need to know before getting started? 

No one will ever work as hard at your business as you will. Once you realize that, you’re ready to start a small business. Your passion and drive will always motivate the people that help you live out your dream.  

Always sign your own checks. Keep your eye on the financial aspect, but don’t let it rule all you do. 

Always have empathy for anyone interested in your company. People want solutions and answers to problems in their life. Leading with empathy will keep a customer for life. 

Can you speak to the importance of small business ownership in general? 

Small businesses are closing all over the tri-state area as well as our country. Small businesses are the lifeblood and the creative culture that make America what it is. We must nurture small businesses and support them in anyway possible. Big companies are dominating the marketplace and turning us into a transactional culture, instead of a creative and rich culture.