Ex-Convict Opens Vegan Donut Shop, First Ever Black-Owned Business in Brooklyn Heights, NYC

Derrick Faulcon

Derrick Faulcon, who was formally incarcerated for 11 years, is now the founder and CEO of Cloudy Donut Co., a vegan donut shop that just became the first-ever Black-owned business in Brooklyn Heights, New York City where the population is 72% white. Their donuts are 100% vegan, made with ingredients such as applesauce, coconut milk, and shortening instead of animal products.

"The goal for me is to show that an ordinary Black man can do extraordinary things," Derrick said during an on-air interview with MSNBCHe continued, "We are the first and we are the only, but we don't want to be the last."

Cloudy Donut Co. officially opened its first shop in Baltimore, Maryland in 2020. Derrick says he was inspired to venture into the vegan donut business when he became a regular at a local vegan donut shop in Baltimore near a brunch restaurant that he owns called Home Maid. He reached out to the owners for a business partnership but was surprised as he was told they were actually open to selling the business.

Derrick immediately took the opportunity to take over the business. He revamped the shop's branding while keeping its fully plant-based operations. Following the success of the first shop even amid the height of the pandemic, Cloudy Donut Co. opened its second Baltimore location after just a year.

As the brand seeks to "reverse gentrify," Faulcon and his partner, Zewiditu Ruffin, have always chosen to open shops in predominantly white areas. They ultimately decided to open their third location in Brooklyn Heights, which is one of the wealthiest and upscale neighborhoods in New York City.

"Reverse gentrification is this ideology that we bring out Black-owned businesses into predominantly white, affluent neighborhoods in order to bring visibility, diversity, and awareness," Zewiditu said.

The rather unusual business model has indeed caused the brand immense success. They often have long lines out the door with a lot of people raving about the mouthwatering fluffy vegan donuts on social media.

Cloudy Donut Co. currently has over 40 unique, tasty flavors with 8 different flavors being offered each week. The donuts are made with ingredients such as applesauce, coconut milk, and shortening instead of animal products. The shop also has two dog-friendly donut options for customers with companion dogs.

Learn more about Cloudy Donut Co. via its official website at CloudyDonut.com

Also, be sure to follow the brand on Instagram @Cloudy_Donuts

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