Andre Kreft lived and worked as a visual artist in Oakland, California for most of his career. He moved back to his native Waterbury, Connecticut after he began losing his sight and learning his mother was ill and in need of support. After losing both his mother and his partner to cancer within a short time period, Andre felt he needed to do something he loved and started his second act as an entrepreneur to help him work through that difficult time nearly six years ago. It was then that he decided to tap into his passion for baking and start his cookie company, Savor Fine Foods.
“I would not be who I am
if it were not for those around me.”
~ Andre Kreft
When Andre was young, baking was always an activity he enjoyed. Using only his retirement savings and credit cards, Andre took the leap to start his cookie company at 55 years old. “I am an artist and now I bake, so business is a new model for me,” he said. Andre incorporates his artistry and creativity into his cookies by experimenting with unique flavor combinations including roasted leek, smoked yellow onion, cinnamon orange, hot pepper, lavender and salted rosemary lemon.
When starting Savor Fine Foods in 2010, Andre baked cookies at night in the kitchen of a friend’s restaurant. After out-growing that baking arrangement, Andre began renting kitchen space to accommodate his cookie production.
Through its national philanthropic program Communities with HART, The Hartford partners with Accion to support small business owners like Andre. Thanks to this partnership, Andre secured a loan to build a kitchen in his new store location opening in early 2016. The loan also allowed him to make improvements to his website and increase his company’s online presence.
One of Andre’s goals when he started his company was to provide employment in the local area where it was sorely needed. He currently has four part-time employees and hopes to hire additional help in the future. Andre also tries to source ingredients from local suppliers whenever he can.
Through his business, Andre continues to give back to his neighborhood by supporting several charitable organizations in the community including the Ali Forney Center for homeless gay youth in New York City and the William Raveis Breast Cancer Foundation in Connecticut. Andre is clearly an entrepreneur who is committed to making positive changes in his community through his “cookies that care.” When asked why giving back is so important to him, Andre shares, “I would not be who I am if it were not for those around me.”
Savor Fine Foods cookies are currently sold in four states, online on Savor’s website and ABCHome.com, as well as in CT Home and Garden and at farmers’ markets throughout Litchfield County.