Photos and story by Luke Lawrence
Since April 2017 Solomon Cohen and his family have been living the American Dream. A trained chef and caterer, Solomon left these positions behind to pursue his own goals and start his own business. “I always knew that I wanted to work for myself,” Solomon told me as we were chatting in the kitchen that he was leasing out. It was easy to sense Solomon’s entrepreneurial spirit as we talked. No matter what we were discussing, he was constantly focused in on what he had to do that moment for his business. Day-in and day-out, Solomon, with the help of some part-timers and occasionally his wife, works to market and build his brand, make orders, and ensure that his products are of the highest quality and delivered to his customers with the utmost care. “It is an every day job, more than full time,” Solomon told me as he offered me some of his delicious garlic cassava bread, the main product crafted by his company, Cassava Breads (formerly Papa Mountain). Most days of the week, you can find Solomon up by 5 a.m. devoting his waking hours to Cassava Breads. For over three years now, this has been Solomon’s life, and, for someone who started a business at age 22 with no background in business processes, this has not been an easy journey.
Beginning as a small stand at a local Saturday Market, Solomon and his wife have worked hard branding, networking, researching, developing recipes and products, and everything in between. “We started with nothing, and we had to learn everything as we went.” To be so young and to have to juggle so many tasks is truly a remarkable feat, I thought to myself as I continued to chat with Solomon. However, the difficulty in his journey, while felt, did not seem to phase him as we chatted. “I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else,” Solomon assured me, “to be creating healthy, delicious products with clean ingredients that people love, I wouldn’t want it any other way.” Solomon’s hard work continues to bring him success as Cassava Breads is now looking to expand production and have their products be supported by major retailers such as Whole Foods and Kroger. “Within five years we want our product to be on a national scale through major retailers, that’s the dream,” and what a dream that is. After having spoken with Solomon for quite some time, I have no doubt that he and his family will continue to push their business into greater and greater success.
The Cohens, who now have two young children, have faced much adversity in their business journey. The odds have been stacked against them from the beginning, with very little outside support. Solomon assured me, though, that this will never stop his and his family’s dream. “You know you’re on the right path if you face scrutiny, criticism, all of it. To be able to make something that’s your own and build it up, that’s what it’s all about.” In a time where hope is scarce and The American Dream is few and far between, Solomon and his family give me hope that things are going to be okay, and that, through hard work and dedication, your goals can be reached. You can find Cassava Breads on Augusta Locally Grown’s weekly marketplace, which I highly recommend after tasting Solomon’s products. Help him and his family realize their dream, I promise that you will not regret it.