Self-Help Shares

Two Small Bakeries Frame Self-Help's History

By staff
  | Dec 04, 2020

In case you missed it, our recent annual meeting included a celebration of Self-Help’s 40th anniversary. We searched our archives and jogged the memories of long-time staff members to create an interactive timeline of many key milestones.


Early Self-Help borrowers

From the archives: a collage of some of Self-Help's early borrowers

Be sure to check out the digital timeline (or the shorter video version) and enjoy flipping through our history of working with partners to build ownership and work for greater social and economic justice.

Our long-time friends are familiar with the beginning of Self-Help’s story. Founders Martin Eakes and Bonnie Wright had a burning passion to help displaced workers form their own worker-owned cooperatives. That led them to the New Bern Bakery in New Bern, NC, which organized a bake sale that raised $77 of seed money for Self-Help.

Martin Eakes and Bonnie Wright

New Bern Bakery in early 1980s

At this year’s annual meeting, we were reminded of that bakery from long ago when we heard from the owners of the Main Street Bakery & Gift Shop in Columbia, South Carolina. Rosa Daniels and Dana Myers, a mother and daughter who own the bakery, started the business in 2004 by using retirement funds.

Co-owners of the Main Street Bakery & Gift Shop in Columbia, SC

Rosa Daniels (left) and Dana Myers, co-owners of the Main Street Bakery & Gift Shop. Photo by Nate Abraham, Jr., Carolina Panorama Newspaper.

Over the years, their business grew as customers flocked in for their locally famous cinnamon rolls and pound cakes. Rosa and Dana were expecting a good year in 2020 until the pandemic struck. It was a stressful time as sales plummeted; they worried about the future of the business and the people they employed.

“When COVID hit, we were getting ready for our busy season,” said Dana. “We had taken a lot of orders for wedding cakes. Then people started getting sick.”

In this short video, these business owners discuss how they got through a very tough summer with the help of a Paycheck Protection Program loan from Self-Help.

The Main Street Bakery was among 1,758 small businesses or nonprofits that received one of our PPP loans—59% led by people of color. The median loan amount of our PPP lending was $21,000. See more of our PPP stats and stories here.

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