Lancaster Co. business turns to crowdfunding after losing major investment

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Dec 6, 2017 4:54 PM

Photo: Lancaster Food Company via

(Harrisburg) -- A midstate business with a mission of raising its employees out of poverty is in danger of permanently shutting down. 

After a major investment fell through, Lancaster Food Company is trying to raise $250,000 through crowdfunding.

The company laid off its 22 employees right after Thanksgiving.

A Facebook post on Sunday announcing the news was shared more 230 times, and some people commented they would be willing to loan their own money to keep the business afloat.

A GoFundMe campaign launched two days later, raising more than $3,000 in the first 24 hours.

Charlie Crystle, co-founder and CEO of Lancaster Food Company, said they hope to secure enough funding by Wednesday to resume operations.

"There's a point at which it's not recoverable and we'd have to hire new people, train new people," he said. "It's a lot of work to get restarted if we lose our team."

Since its founding in 2014, the organic bread maker has focused on hiring people with barriers to employment, such as poverty or previous incarceration. The company starts its employees at $15 per hour. 

"None of that factored in to our current situation, it's really just the lack of capital and not the actual business model," Crystle said. 

The company moved into a new facility in January and had been rapidly ramping up production, from 700 loves of bread per day to 3,200. 

Crystle said they were on track to turn a profit in the next four months.

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