Jeanette Bolden-Pickens, owner-operator of 27th Street Bakery
Located in the historic Central Avenue corridor in South Los Angeles is the family-owned business 27th Street Bakery. Founded in 1956 by Jeanette Bolden-Pickens’ grandparents, the third-generation bakery became a household name for their homemade-style sweet potato pies and has since grown into the largest manufacturer of sweet potato pies on the West Coast.

Jeanette, an Olympic gold medalist in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, continues to run the family business. In 2019, the building that served as the bakery’s longtime home was unexpectedly put up for sale, jeopardizing the future of the legacy bakery.

Super Bowl LVI Business Connect Program Spotlighting Local Businesses

To save the bakery, Jeanette reached out to the office of Councilmember Curren D. Price, Jr. for guidance on loan options to purchase the building or assistance locating a new venue. Council District 9 staff contacted EWDD’s Business Response Unit (BRU) to coordinate assistance. The BRU specializes in helping entrepreneurs navigate the City’s bureaucracy by connecting them with the appropriate departments to address their business needs.

The BRU, in partnership with EWDD’s Loan Section and the South LA BusinessSource Center, presented Jeannette with her best options to continue operations. With their guidance, Jeanette chose a solution that allowed the bakery to continue creating jobs in the 9th district and remain at its longtime location.

Today, the bakery remains open. Its sweet potato pies are also available for pick-up and can be ordered via several food delivery apps.

The 27th Street Bakery will also be expanding its reach of clientele within Los Angeles. The bakery was recently selected as a vendor for the Super Bowl LVI Business Connect program, which provides opportunities for LA businesses to compete for contracts related to Super Bowl LVI. Jeanette said she is appreciative of the opportunity.

“The Business Connect program has really opened a lot of doors for us. Once I submitted my application, like all the other vendors, I was invited to do a pitch. I told the story of my grandparents and the love and everything we have in preserving the sweet potato pie.” Jeanette adds, “I got an email from the president of the Staples Center where he said that it was so important for Los Angeles to embrace the small and large restaurants and vendors. It was important for me to know that the Staples Center can be a place for 27th Street Bakery.”

The 27th Street Bakery is located in Council District 9.

EWDD’s BusinessSource and WorkSource Centers offer a variety of Business Services, including several Financial Programs and Development Incentives for businesses of all sizes.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of September 6, 2021. Read this issue and more.