JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly 13 years ago, Nana Hammond and her family moved from London to the U.S. After settling in Jacksonville, Hammond wasn’t thrilled with the quality of bread, so she decided to make her own.
“The first loaf of bread we bought actually sat on our shelf for two weeks – no mold, it didn’t stale, nothing at all happened to it,” Hammond recalled. “We’re like, ‘No, we can’t be consuming this and we need to find something.’ But with no luck, we decided, ‘Okay, let’s start baking our own product.’”
But what began as Hammond’s hobby has transformed into a full-blown family business.
Enter Jax Bread Co., a family-owned bakery nestled in a storefront along Baymeadows Road off Philips Highway on the city’s Southside. The bakery, which specializes in European-style foods and baked goods, has a policy of including no preservatives or additives in any of its food, which is made from scratch.
And that’s just one of the things that sets this business apart.
“Everything that you get from here, from our cookies to our sandwiches, we make all of that in house,” she said. “And we make sure that whatever someone is putting in their mouth is as clean as possible, and we have a bit of something for everybody – vegan, vegetarian, meat-lovers.”
Like other small businesses in Jacksonville, the bakery saw its share of issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. But fortunately, Hammond was able to secure a Paycheck Protection Program loan as well as other grants. Hammond said the spotlight on Black-owned businesses has also helped.
“We’re Black-owned, which a lot of people did not know,” she said. “So, we have a lot of support across all races from Jacksonville. But very much also the Black community realized we’re one of them as well, so that’s actually propelled us to the point that we have a lot of them coming in to support the business.”
Even during a public health crisis, this family-owned business is finding a way to stay afloat and keep a positive outlook – one loaf at a time.