Jovani Prince Seized His Opportunity. It Was Made of Crackers.

“All of a sudden, people wanted Black products and they gave us a shot,” Prince says.

BAKED GOODS

Sector spending increase: 9.5%

A few years ago, Jovani Prince got tired of leaving his fate in the hands of others.

"Being African American, I got tired of being the first one to be fired and the last one to be hired," Prince says. "I wanted to do something that no one could take away from me."

Around the same time, he visited his mother in California and drove home with a bag of the crackers she's been making for years. He and his wife couldn't stop eating them.

"The light bulb went off," Prince says.

He reformulated the flour to make it gluten-free and started a company called the Cracker King. He boot-strapped the business, selling his crackers by the bag at farmers markets and in a small number of stores.

Prince, 56, says he was confident he made the best gluten-free cracker in the world, but people were passing by his bags, which feature him and his family on the front.

Then, George Floyd was slain. "All of a sudden, people wanted Black products and they gave us a shot," Prince says. "Another Black man had to die to give me the opportunity. It's a bitter pill."

They saw the picture on his product and snapped it up. More people tasted them, and a lot more people started buying them. "They tried them and went crazy," Prince says.

Prince had also wandered into a market that was heating up like an oven. As restaurant spending cratered this year, grocers benefited—and sales of bakery goods rose, too.

Now, he can barely keep up with demand. He recently got a business development loan from New Seasons, and Cracker King goes into Whole Foods stores later this month.

Number of stores selling Cracker King in May: 18

Number of stores selling Cracker King in December: 72

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