Picture this: a punk-rock, pin-up style sweet-treats store that aims to break the stereotype that vegan food tastes like cardboard. That’s the concept behind Cinnaholic which will open its first store this summer in Berkeley.
Owners Shannon Michelle Radke and Florian Radke, met on an online “vegans and vegetarians” group. She fell in love with his [German] accent, he fell in love with her baking, and with a little help from friends and family, Cinnaholic was born. Berkeleyside caught up with Shannon (pictured) to get the low-down.
When do you open?
We are hoping to open early July, assuming that the permit process goes smoothly.
What’s it going to be like — what’s the vibe you are looking for?
You can expect to be served in an environment with a unique flair of punk rock meets pin-up style ranging from our employee outfits to the music, decor and style of the local artwork that will be rotated and showcased monthly.
Why did you choose Berkeley?
Originally, we were looking at rental properties in SF, Oakland and Berkeley. One of the big reasons we chose the Berkeley location over the other offers we had in SF and Oakland was because I was born and raised in the East Bay (Walnut Creek to be exact). I love the East Bay! Sadly, the East Bay doesn’t offer as many vegan options as SF yet. While originally we thought it best to open up shop in an already established vegan-based community, we realized that bringing our own sense of veganism out to the East Bay was a much better opportunity.
The store — at 2132 Oxford St. — is spitting distance from campus. Did you choose your location because students are your core market?
The target market we had aimed for originally were people who desired a sweet, unique treat who care about their “‘ecological footprint”‘. All of our products are 100% vegan. By maintaining a vegan diet, it not only helps to save millions of animals each year from unnecessary suffering, but it also helps make a huge impact ecologically, economically and improves the quality of our physical health drastically. Students became our second target market and we began to research how we could best serve them shortly after we signed the lease. In doing so, one benefit we will offer is a significant student discount with proof of ID.
Do you make any health claims for your products or are they simply delicious, naughty treats?
Sugar is sugar and a calorie is a calorie. We don’t claim to be low-calorie, nor would we want to. We take pride in breaking the stereotype that vegan food tastes like cardboard. The fact that non-vegans can’t tell the difference between our products and those loaded with cholesterol and other health-damaging ingredients is great. It opens people up to the idea that vegan food “might not be that bad after all”.
Who do you see as your competition?
Honestly, we don’t see ourselves as having much competition at this point because we specialize in just vegan cinnamon rolls. We feel we are a unique company with a unique product in a growing market. One might consider other vegan bakeries our competitors, but the fact is, they simply offer different products.
Do you hope to expand if your Berkeley store is successful?
We would like to eventually open up a shop in Berlin, Germany, where my husband is from, later on down the road. We need to see how successful this one is going to be first.
And what should we order?
What makes our company unique, aside from the fact we are all vegan, is the ability to customize your own cinnamon roll. We start you off with a hot roll and you top it however you like. We have an original roll for those who like to stick to the “classic” taste and a variety of flavored rolls, such as pina colada, mocha almond, Irish cream and even root beer. There is a little something for everyone.