How a San Diego bakery brought a community together

Jul 10, 2012

In 1992, American horror films director Charles Kaufmann was at a crossroads in his life. The film industry was changing and his passion for the industry was waning. A novice bread baker, Kaufman would often sneak away from Cannes Film Festival screenings to bake bread at local Cannes bakeries.

Wanting to take his passion for baking to the next level, Kaufman placed his film career on hiatus and spent a year learning how to bake bread as a baker’s apprentice in the South of France. When it was time to return to the United States, he relocated his family and an original French oven to the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego and launched Bread & Cie. 

“San Diego and the Hillcrest community in particular was the perfect place for my wife and me to raise our daughter,” said Kaufman. “In addition, it was also an ideal place to open my dream bakery, Bread & Cie, and bring hard crusted European-styled breads to the region.”

Business started off slow, but increased as the community began to know Kaufman and his bakery.

“Charles didn’t have a lot of business when Bread & Cie first opened,” said Linda Saltzman, General Manager of Bread & Cie. “He would stand outside and give the bread away for free; soon people and local restaurants and markets began placing orders. Business took off and Charles was baking 24 hours a day – it was time to expand.”

To accommodate the increased production Kaufman began leasing a wholesale manufacturing facility in San Diego. After sustaining increased production requests for several years, Kaufman wanted to take the next step and acquire the facility and he looked to Bank of America to finance his expansion.

“We had enough money to comfortably launch Bread & Cie, but we needed to finance our expansion to support our continued growth,” stated Kaufman. “I was familiar with the financing of films, but Bank of America helped me to adjust my approach to expanding the business. They took the time to really know my business and presented a pragmatic approach to support my growth.”

Bank of America’s resources allowed Kaufman to take Bread & Cie to the next level. In addition to financing the wholesale facility, Bank of America provided equipment financing to help him continue to support his wholesale operations and presented additional solutions to support his business.

“Our relationship with Charles began with the financing of his wholesale facility and has expanded to a personal relationship over the years,” said Susan Couch, Client Manager for Bread & Cie. “Charles and Bread & Cie are pillars of the community and we will continue to support him and his business, whether it’s presenting a new banking solution to increase business efficiency, having a meal at Bread & Cie with our friends and family or connecting Charles with our established contacts, clients and networks.”

Kaufman’s dream to become part of a community and operate a thriving artisan bakery has come true. The company has grown from four employees to 115 employees in its retail and wholesale operations, and the bakery’s philanthropic initiatives supply community organizations throughout the San Diego metropolitan area with free bread.

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