Eat now, pay later: Spokane bakery starts bagel loan program

SPOKANE, Wash. – Businesses are trying to do what they can to stay afloat. Sweetbox Delivery is still making and selling baked good, but it’s letting people eat now and pay later.

About 93 percent of Sweetbox Delivery’s income is from wholesale. So, when businesses and restaurants scaled back operations, the bakery took a hit, too.

It’s a long process to make bagels. Owner Clay Cerna has mastered that art, making upwards of 800 bagels in about eight hours with his staff – that was before things changed.

“So far, we’ve seen at least about a 50 percent drop off in business, especially because a lot of cafe’s aren’t able to stay open,” Cerna said.

His business is now struggling just like every other in the state and across the nation.

“We needed to do something,” he said.

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That something ended up him trying to sell more bagels to more people and delivering them.

“What we wanted to do was try to incentive people to stay home, hence the 50 percent discount on bagels,” he said.

Those who need to can pay for their bagels later.

“We’re just trying to help out any way we possibly can. We want to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem,” Cerna said.

It is risky though, because how do you know if someone will pay you back?

“I think it’s a bridge we’ll cross when we get there. But, even if some people don’t pay us back, it’s better than doing nothing,” Cerna said.

Surprisingly for Cerna, many people did pay upfront or have already settled their tabs. He said the ratio is looking about 1 in 3 will use the loan program.

Since starting the bagel loan program, Cerna said his staff has delivered more bagels to households in Spokane in the last three weeks, than in the last three years, since he’s mostly a wholesale seller.

The bakery has decided to ship them to other states, too.

To learn more about the bagel loan program, visit Sweetbox Delivery’s website.

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