A Netflix documentary changed the course of Marcus and Cara Pitt’s lives. The husband and wife duo, who worked in corporate healthcare in San Antonio, Texas, came up with the concept for their vegan bakery Southern Roots after watching “What the Health,” a 2017 film which critiques the health impact of meat, fish, eggs and dairy products consumption.
That’s when they decided to convert to plant-based living. That’s also when they decided to start exploring and experimenting with vegan recipes. The enthusiastic response from their friends, family and community, especially from their church – after tasting their creations – motivated them to start a business.
Thanks to Launch SA Business Hub, they enrolled in a 10-week business accelerator program called Break, Fast and Launch. The program provided them with the tools, guidance and a blueprint to turn what had previously been a passion into a successful business. In 2018, Southern Roots Vegan Bakery officially launched.
What sets them apart, according to Cara, aside from their passion, is their commitment to great taste. “We strive to make our treats as healthy as possible without sacrificing taste,” she said. The couple also places a strong emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility. “Our goal is to create a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life to come together and enjoy our treats,” explained Cara.
In other words, you don’t have to be vegan. You can simply be looking for healthier dessert options in the forms of doughnuts, cookies and cakes. They also pride themselves on recreating Southern classics, but in a plant-based style.
A crowd favorite is their Volcano Cupcakes – an oversized vegan cupcake filled with homemade frosting in a variety of flavors including funfetti, chocolate luxury, red velvet and strawberry. Also popular, their Mary Lee’s Lemon Cake, red velvet cake doughnuts and pineapple upside down cake.
Since opening, the company has fielded orders from all over the country. And they’ve been nominated as one of the Best Vegan Bakeries by VegNews. “Knowing that people are watching and taking notice of our hard work makes the long nights worth it,” said Cara. “Recognition like this encourages us to continue pushing forward and striving to improve our products.”
And that now extends to ice cream as the duo recently acquired the plant-based vegan ice cream company Cielo Scoops.
There are more plans for expansion, as well, with conversations about collaborating with hotels, restaurants, conference centers and coffee shops. They also hope to partner with a senior meal program to create a plant-based menu for the San Antonio elderly community.
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