World Headquarters of Banana Bread Company Coming to Annapolis
One man company has big plans for new location.
At first, the sign in the Annapolis Business Center for "Havana Banana Breads—World HQ," may cause a double take.
Especially when you consider Havana Banana is a one-man operation. But if the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, in the banana bread, there might be a lot of demand for these loaves.
On meeting Mike Lawrence, self proclaimed "top banana" at Havana Banana Breads Co. new ‘world headquarters’ just off of Moreland Parkway off outer West Street, he hands out a business card, shaped like yes, a banana.
“I like Annapolis,” said Lawrence, who lives in Laurel. “I was married here in 1994. I was looking for the right spot—something that required virtually no construction.”
And then he saw it.
“The karma—it was already painted yellow,” he said, with a laugh, about the 2,700-square-foot space, which is indeed, yellow.
More than that though, the space had already been used for food production, a major benefit.
“You see that?” he asked, as he pointed to a pipe. “That’s a grease trap. To put a grease trap in is about $10,000 to $15,000. To a small business, that was a lot of money and it was already here.”
Add to that, he uses gas for cooking and the building has gas.
“The oven is 14 feet wide and can do up to 400 loaves of bread at a time,” said Lawrence. “It’s a revolving oven.”
For the past two and a half years, Lawrence has been renting space in a bakery in Ellicott City.
In addition to selling his different varieties of banana bread online and local farmers markets, he has another key customer.
“I sell to Whole Foods in D.C. and Rockville,” he said. “I’m planning on getting into the Annapolis store, once I get going.”
As for how this man, who served 26 years in the Army, got into the banana bread business, turns out it was his love for his son or rather his son’s love for a particular fruit.
“I was a single dad raising my autistic son. He always loved bananas,” Lawrence said.
So he began making banana bread.
“I just said you know what, this is what I’m going to do when I retire,” he said. “It was one of those moments; the light went on.”
He said he's hoping the new headquarters will be ready for opening the first week of May.
"Although it's a commercial facility, people can still come in and buy bread," he said.
Aside from taste, there's another good selling point to the bread.
"You can freeze and thaw the bread as much as you want, so thaw is never an issue," said Lawrence, who ships without freezer packs.
For more information or to place online orders, visit http://www.havanabananabreads.com.