Last week, Havenly Treats –– a nonprofit food business that employs refugees –– reopened at a new location on 25 Temple St.
Havenly Treats has moved multiple times over the years. Last summer, they worked out of a rented bakery space in Fair Haven. From there, they relocated to the Jewish Community Center in Woodbridge, and then opened for the first time as a storefront this year in New Haven. The bakery celebrated their reopening with giveaways and new items.
“Havenly is a great way to help the New Haven economy while also helping local refugee women,” New Haven native Yasmin Bergemann ’24 said. “I’ve seen the way it involves people from all over New Haven, and it’s a great way to meet new people and make new connections.”
According to their website, Havenly Treats seeks to differentiate itself from other American models of refugee integration that only prioritize rapid employment. The organization seeks to promote economic self-sufficiency through long-term education programs and political consciousness development. To do this, Havenly Treats offers six-month-long fellowships where female refugees in New Haven work part time in their kitchen. In addition, the women spend four hours a week in educational workshops.
Havenly Treats’ Community Outreach Director Camila Guiza-Chavez ’19 told the News that she is excited for the new space and the longer lease time at their Temple Street store.
“It’s kind of the first time that we have a longer horizon in a space of our own,” Guiza-Chavez said. “We just kind of try to make it feel like our home.”
Guiza-Chavez said that the new location had seen a lot of foot traffic due to its proximity to Yale’s campus and the Temple Medical Center. Havenly Treats has been planning to open its own training center and storefront for a while.
The benefits of a storefront extend beyond logistics. Not only will it be easier to sell their products from a single location, but according to Guiza-Chavez, a storefront provides more of a tangible sense of home.
“It’s really significant to our mission for us to be able to have our own space where the women in our program can come and feel like they have a sense of ownership of this place,” Guiza-Chavez said.
Like many other businesses in the Elm City, Havenly Treats’ operations have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic hit when they were moving into their old storefront location, which was formerly the cake shop Sweet Mary’s. They moved out of that location on Court Street because their lease recently ran out.
In their new location, Havenly Treats has put up plexiglass and stickers guiding customers to socially distance.
“Corona gives us a heightened sense of responsibility, I think, to be running what is kind of like a public space,” Guiza-Chavez said. “It gives us a heightened sense of responsibility to be thinking safety.”
Havenly Treats’ location is also filled with homages to their mission. One of their walls houses a collection of pictures. Right above their entrance tiny paper cranes hang from the ceiling. In a corner, a white bookshelf houses picture books and novels alike. Guiza-Chavez told the News that these additions were intended to reflect the diverse backgrounds of everyone who comes through the bakery.
Bao Phan ’24 found out about Havenly Treats’ reopening through the Snackpass app, where Havenly was advertising free baklava treats.
“I thought it was in a very convenient location and in a cool commercial area,” Phan said. “It was a lot bigger than expected; I was really surprised to see how much space they had.”
Havenly Treats started selling baklava on Yale’s campus in 2018.
Alex Ori | firstname.lastname@example.org