Activism Discussion: Nabolom Bakery Struggles To Survive

Nabolom Bakery Struggles To Survive
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Dan Clore
2005-04-10 14:29:33 EST
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

Contra Costa Times
Sun, Apr. 10, 2005
Nabolom Bakery struggles to survive
By Martin Snapp
STAFF WRITER

It looks like the end for Nabolom Bakery of Berkeley, the
anarchist collective that turns out pastries to tempt even
the most bourgeois palate.

"The people in the neighborhood have been wonderful," said
chief financial officer Jim Burr. "Our retail sales have
jumped by 30 percent since word got around last year that we
were struggling. But we're still losing $2,000 to $3,000
every month. What we need is a large wholesale account. If
we can't find one by the end of the month, we'll have to
either close our doors or sell to a private buyer."

Anticipating the worst, the collective has already opened
negotiations to sell the business to the Association of
Arizmendi Co-Operative Bakeries, an umbrella group that
includes the Cheese Board in Berkeley and the Arizmendi
bakeries in Oakland, Emeryville and San Francisco.

"They'd probably keep our recipes, since that's our main
drawing card," said Burr. "But whether they'd retain any of
us is anybody's guess."

If not, Nabolom's 14 workers will scatter to the winds.
Burr, for instance, will move to Okinawa, where he'll live
as a military dependent on the local Navy base, "which is a
rather odd place for an anarchist to be," he said with a
laugh. His fiancee is joining the Navy.

The pressure to find a buyer is great, since several of the
workers have invested their life's savings in an attempt to
keep the bakery alive -- money they'll lose if it goes belly-up.

Nabolom -- the name is Mayan for "house of fire" -- has been
a fixture in the Elmwood neighborhood since 1976. From the
start, customers have been addicted to its sinfully
fattening but oh-so-delicious chocolate croissants, almond
bear feet, brown sugar snails, and its biggest seller: the
"Infamous Cinnamon Twists," loaded with cinnamon, butter,
sugar, and barely enough flour to hold it all together.

"I can't start my day without my cinnamon twist," said loyal
customer Sondra Oh, who buys one every morning to munch on
her way to work.

So fanatical are cinnamon twist devotees, Nabolom receives
orders from all over the country and abroad. "We have one
customer in Germany who really loves them," said collective
member Zach Wittmer.

As a stopgap, collective members are leafleting the
neighborhood with fliers and negotiating with the owner of
the 7-Eleven across the street to use the kiosk in his
parking lot as a carry-out stand.

"Nobody wants to give up," said Burr. "We love this place.
It's a labor of love, a chance to put into practice our
anarchist values of voluntary cooperation and mutual aid.
But unless a miracle happens, we'll be gone by June 1."
Reach Martin Snapp at 510-262-2787 or mailto:msnapp@cctimes.com

--
Dan Clore

Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro
Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in
any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in
itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or
tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never
entered into any war, or act of hostility against any
Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no
pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce
an interruption of the harmony existing between the two
countries.
-- The Treaty of Tripoli, entered into by the USA under
George Washington














Philologizer
2005-04-10 21:39:32 EST
Dan Clore wrote:
> News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
>
> Contra Costa Times
> Sun, Apr. 10, 2005
> Nabolom Bakery struggles to survive
> By Martin Snapp
> STAFF WRITER
>
> It looks like the end for Nabolom Bakery of Berkeley, the
> anarchist collective that turns out pastries to tempt even
> the most bourgeois palate.
>
> "The people in the neighborhood have been wonderful," said
> chief financial officer Jim Burr. "Our retail sales have
> jumped by 30 percent since word got around last year that we
> were struggling. But we're still losing $2,000 to $3,000
> every month. What we need is a large wholesale account. If
> we can't find one by the end of the month, we'll have to
> either close our doors or sell to a private buyer."
>
> Anticipating the worst, the collective has already opened
> negotiations to sell the business to the Association of
> Arizmendi Co-Operative Bakeries, an umbrella group that
> includes the Cheese Board in Berkeley and the Arizmendi
> bakeries in Oakland, Emeryville and San Francisco.
>
> "They'd probably keep our recipes, since that's our main
> drawing card," said Burr. "But whether they'd retain any of
> us is anybody's guess."
>
> If not, Nabolom's 14 workers will scatter to the winds.
> Burr, for instance, will move to Okinawa, where he'll live
> as a military dependent on the local Navy base, "which is a
> rather odd place for an anarchist to be," he said with a
> laugh. His fiancee is joining the Navy.
>
> The pressure to find a buyer is great, since several of the
> workers have invested their life's savings in an attempt to
> keep the bakery alive -- money they'll lose if it goes belly-up.
>
> Nabolom -- the name is Mayan for "house of fire" -- has been
> a fixture in the Elmwood neighborhood since 1976. From the
> start, customers have been addicted to its sinfully
> fattening but oh-so-delicious chocolate croissants, almond
> bear feet, brown sugar snails, and its biggest seller: the
> "Infamous Cinnamon Twists," loaded with cinnamon, butter,
> sugar, and barely enough flour to hold it all together.
>
> "I can't start my day without my cinnamon twist," said loyal
> customer Sondra Oh, who buys one every morning to munch on
> her way to work.
>
> So fanatical are cinnamon twist devotees, Nabolom receives
> orders from all over the country and abroad. "We have one
> customer in Germany who really loves them," said collective
> member Zach Wittmer.
>
> As a stopgap, collective members are leafleting the
> neighborhood with fliers and negotiating with the owner of
> the 7-Eleven across the street to use the kiosk in his
> parking lot as a carry-out stand.
>
> "Nobody wants to give up," said Burr. "We love this place.
> It's a labor of love, a chance to put into practice our
> anarchist values of voluntary cooperation and mutual aid.
> But unless a miracle happens, we'll be gone by June 1."
> Reach Martin Snapp at 510-262-2787 or mailto:msnapp@cctimes.com
>
> --
> Dan Clore
>
> Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
> http://www.wildsidepress.com/index2.htm
> http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587154838/thedanclorenecro
> Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
> http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
> News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo
>
> As the Government of the United States of America is not, in
> any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in
> itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or
> tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never
> entered into any war, or act of hostility against any
> Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no
> pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce
> an interruption of the harmony existing between the two
> countries.
> -- The Treaty of Tripoli, entered into by the USA under
> George Washington

I'm curious as to what the significance of this article is supposed to
be. Someone is going out of business? That does happen from time to
time. I have to admit though, I've seen similar articles in major news
periodicals, Christian newsgroups and other forums serving special
interest groups when their own kind are having a difficult time of
things and are looking for community support. I suppose I am wrong
then, "anarchists" are not all that different from any other economic,
religious or ethnic group.

Of course anarchists' claim to fame is that they are persecuted by the
powers that be. I don't know why that would be the case, since they
are against the powers that be. Perhaps anarchists complaining that
there is a government is like Christians complaining that they are
persecuted by the scientific community because the Bible is not taught
in schools.

Gary


G*rd*n
2005-04-11 10:18:41 EST
"Philologizer" <grchildrss@aol.com>:
> I'm curious as to what the significance of this article is supposed to
> be. Someone is going out of business? That does happen from time to
> time. I have to admit though, I've seen similar articles in major news
> periodicals, Christian newsgroups and other forums serving special
> interest groups when their own kind are having a difficult time of
> things and are looking for community support. I suppose I am wrong
> then, "anarchists" are not all that different from any other economic,
> religious or ethnic group.
>
> Of course anarchists' claim to fame is that they are persecuted by the
> powers that be. I don't know why that would be the case, since they
> are against the powers that be. Perhaps anarchists complaining that
> there is a government is like Christians complaining that they are
> persecuted by the scientific community because the Bible is not taught
> in schools.


One of the ways anarchism is supposed to supplant State-supported
capitalism is by means of a peaceful transition from capitalist
means of production to cooperatives (at least in some people's
theories). However, the cooperative model has to do well
enough to stay afloat in the capitalist world during the period
of transition. If it doesn't in a particular case, that is a
problem which needs to be examined, if only to become aware of
pitfalls which may threaten other such enterprises.

Unfortunately the stories doesn't give us a view of exactly
why the bakery is losing money.


Dan Clore
2005-04-11 13:23:40 EST
Philologizer wrote:

> Perhaps anarchists complaining that
> there is a government is like Christians complaining that they are
> persecuted by the scientific community because the Bible is not taught
> in schools.

The Bible is in fact taught in schools -- Bible as
literature courses, for example. What we (fortunately) do
not see in public schools is the Bible taught as fact --
creationism in biology courses, e.g.

If the schools gave a serious scholarly treatment of the
Bible as a part of basic education, which would only provide
students with information that everyone ought to know anyway
-- that the Bible begins with two contradictory creation
accounts by different authors, for example -- the fundies
would go into conniption fits over evils of the Satanic,
secular humanist, school system.

--
Dan Clore

My collected fiction, _The Unspeakable and Others_:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1587154838/thedanclorenecro/
Lord Weÿrdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/9879/
News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

Strange pleasures are known to him who flaunts the
immarcescible purple of poetry before the color-blind.
-- Clark Ashton Smith, "Epigrams and Apothegms"


Stan De SD
2005-04-12 06:19:26 EST

"G*rd*n" <gcf@panix.com> wrote in message
news:d3e101$rad$1@reader1.panix.com...
>
> One of the ways anarchism is supposed to supplant State-supported
> capitalism is by means of a peaceful transition from capitalist
> means of production to cooperatives (at least in some people's
> theories).

G*r*n share the sociopolitical equivalent of astrology with us, just for
laughs...



Zztop8970
2005-04-12 10:59:51 EST

"G*rd*n" <gcf@panix.com> wrote in message
news:d3e101$rad$1@reader1.panix.com...
<snip>
>
> Unfortunately the stories doesn't give us a view of exactly
> why the bakery is losing money.

This story doesn't, but other stories are quite explict about it: they are
losing money, in large part *because* of their anarchist structure:
"Burr said the financial situation has forced the seven current co-op
members to develop a smarter business model. In the past, he said, members
hired friends and then were too shy to confront each other when problems
developed.

"I think that Nabolom, due to the loose structure, has been more tolerant of
people with eccentricities than other work places," said Burr, who confessed
that they've taken on people with substance abuse problems or people that
did not have much baking experience.

"People would tolerate and tolerate and tolerate until things had reached a
point where they couldn't deal with each other any more," said Burr."

http://www.berkeleydaily.org/article.cfm?archiveDate=10-12-04&storyID=19838
>



Joshua Holmes
2005-04-12 11:07:50 EST
In alt.society.anarchy Philologizer <grchildrss@aol.com>...quotes entirely
too damn much of the post to which he wishes to respond.

--
Joshua Holmes
j*s@force.stwing.upenn.edu

Does a man tell you of sacrifice?
Beware, he intends to make you the bull.

G*rd*n
2005-04-12 18:03:38 EST
"G*rd*n" <gcf@panix.com> wrote in message
> > Unfortunately the stories doesn't give us a view of exactly
> > why the bakery is losing money.

"zztop8970" <none@tospeakof.com>:
> This story doesn't, but other stories are quite explict about it: they are
> losing money, in large part *because* of their anarchist structure:
> "Burr said the financial situation has forced the seven current co-op
> members to develop a smarter business model. In the past, he said, members
> hired friends and then were too shy to confront each other when problems
> developed.
>
> "I think that Nabolom, due to the loose structure, has been more tolerant of
> people with eccentricities than other work places," said Burr, who confessed
> that they've taken on people with substance abuse problems or people that
> did not have much baking experience.
>
> "People would tolerate and tolerate and tolerate until things had reached a
> point where they couldn't deal with each other any more," said Burr."
>
> http://www.berkeleydaily.org/article.cfm?archiveDate=10-12-04&storyID=19838


So anarchists, at least the ones at this bakery, need to learn
how to deal with certain kinds of personal conflict, such as
not everyone having the same goals -- in this case apparently
some people want to have a viable bakery and others, maybe,
want to lie around smoking dope. This doesn't seem like a
fatal problem to me.

It is true, though, that people have to learn how to manage
without bosses. This is not something the average person in
taught at home, at school, in church, the Boy Scouts, or much
of anywhere else.


Zztop8970
2005-04-12 20:13:00 EST

G*rd*n wrote:
> "G*rd*n" <gcf@panix.com> wrote in message
> > > Unfortunately the stories doesn't give us a view of exactly
> > > why the bakery is losing money.
>
> "zztop8970" <none@tospeakof.com>:
> > This story doesn't, but other stories are quite explict about it:
they are
> > losing money, in large part *because* of their anarchist
structure:
> > "Burr said the financial situation has forced the seven current
co-op
> > members to develop a smarter business model. In the past, he said,
members
> > hired friends and then were too shy to confront each other when
problems
> > developed.
> >
> > "I think that Nabolom, due to the loose structure, has been more
tolerant of
> > people with eccentricities than other work places," said Burr, who
confessed
> > that they've taken on people with substance abuse problems or
people that
> > did not have much baking experience.
> >
> > "People would tolerate and tolerate and tolerate until things had
reached a
> > point where they couldn't deal with each other any more," said
Burr."
> >
> >
http://www.berkeleydaily.org/article.cfm?archiveDate=10-12-04&storyID=19838
>
>
> So anarchists, at least the ones at this bakery, need to learn
> how to deal with certain kinds of personal conflict, such as
> not everyone having the same goals -- in this case apparently
> some people want to have a viable bakery and others, maybe,
> want to lie around smoking dope. This doesn't seem like a
> fatal problem to me.

I did not say it was a fatal problem. You wanted to know why this
bakery was failing, and I gave you the answer, straight from the
horse's mouth - the anarchist in charge of finances at the bakery
attributed it to its anarchist nature - the loose structure, in
particular. Maybe this is not indicative of every anarchist enterprise,
but it's what's killing this one.
>
> It is true, though, that people have to learn how to manage
> without bosses. This is not something the average person in
> taught at home, at school, in church, the Boy Scouts, or much
> of anywhere else.

Do you think there's perhaps a reason why this is not taught anywhere-
like maybe that it can't be taught?


G*rd*n
2005-04-12 20:20:36 EST
G*rd*n:
> > So anarchists, at least the ones at this bakery, need to learn
> > how to deal with certain kinds of personal conflict, such as
> > not everyone having the same goals -- in this case apparently
> > some people want to have a viable bakery and others, maybe,
> > want to lie around smoking dope. This doesn't seem like a
> > fatal problem to me.

"zztop8970" <zztop8970@yahoo.com>:
> I did not say it was a fatal problem. You wanted to know why this
> bakery was failing, and I gave you the answer, straight from the
> horse's mouth - the anarchist in charge of finances at the bakery
> attributed it to its anarchist nature - the loose structure, in
> particular. Maybe this is not indicative of every anarchist enterprise,
> but it's what's killing this one.


I was answering more than you. Sorry I didn't make that clear.


G*rd*n:
> > It is true, though, that people have to learn how to manage
> > without bosses. This is not something the average person in
> > taught at home, at school, in church, the Boy Scouts, or much
> > of anywhere else.

"zztop8970" <zztop8970@yahoo.com>:
> Do you think there's perhaps a reason why this is not taught anywhere-
> like maybe that it can't be taught?


I think a theory will have to arise out of practice, of which
there is not a lot at this time.

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