The owner of Sweet Comfort Bakery and Cafe in Port Washington said it would close its doors on Sept. 1, but a partner company said it was looking for ways to keep the bakery open.
The bakery is owned by Community Mainstreaming Associates, a nonprofit committed to helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It has partnered with COFFEED, which owns several coffee shops in the New York area.
“COFFEED let us know they can’t do it anymore,” Eileen Egan, the CEO of Community Mainstreaming Associates, said. “We can’t do it alone anymore because the store is not making any money.”
However, COFFEED CEO Frank Raffaele indicated that the bakery might not be finished just yet.
“We are weighing varying options to continue to do it,” Raffaele said. “One of the options is to keep it right there in Port Washington, right there on 5 Irma Ave. if possible.”
CMA opened the bakery eight years ago. It partnered with COFFEED about four years ago because the store was struggling financially, Egan said.
Sweet Comfort’s mission is to provide jobs and job training to adults with mental disabilities, Raffaele said. “We love the mission of Sweet Comfort, it’s a mission we plan to keep going.”
“We are a full-service cafe that has a full line of coffee products, and baked goods made in-house with the assistance of adults with disabilities,” Raffaele said. A popular signature baked product is the “eclipse” cookie, which is two cookies in one, a chocolate chip cookie and a double chocolate chip cookie fused together, he said.
Raffaele said Sweet Comfort is very popular in Port Washington, and residents have been “very helpful and supportive” of the bakery’s mission. “This is the community we want to operate in,” he said.
He also said his company’s relationship with Community Mainstreaming Associates has been “beautiful,” and “exceeded all our expectations.” “CMA does amazing work,” he said.
Raffaele said he hopes to have an answer about Sweet Comfort’s future within two weeks.
Egan said that the operation costs of Sweet Comfort are “a lot” and that for a time COFFEED was assuming that risk but that “it has gotten worse, we are losing a lot of money.” She said she hoped other businesses in town would be interested in employing the bakery’s workers.