Derrick Faulcon is an ex-convict who is now the founder and CEO of Cloudy Donut Co. The company is a 100 percent vegan doughnut shop located in Brooklyn Heights, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in New York City.
The vegan doughnut shop is the first-ever Black-owned business in Brooklyn Heights, New York City, according to MSNBC. “[Being the first] means a great deal to us, and we’re proud of it. But it’s just the first step,” Zewiditu Ruffin, Cloudy Donut Co.’s Partnerships Director and Brooklyn Heights shop operator, told VegNews.
The decision to open a branch in Brooklyn Heights feeds into Faulcon’s vision of reverse gentrification. “Reverse gentrification is this ideology that we bring out Black-owned businesses into predominantly white, affluent neighborhoods in order to bring visibility, diversity, and awareness,” Ruffin noted.
Faulcon first launched Cloudy Donut Co. in Baltimore, Maryland in 2020. He got inspired to venture into the vegan doughnut business after becoming a regular customer at a local vegan doughnut shop in Baltimore near a brunch restaurant that he owns called Home Maid.
After he got mesmerized by the sweet offerings of the vegan doughnut shop, he decided that he wanted to be part of the company. He reached out to the owner, who told him he was open to selling the business to him. Faulcon acquired the business and then revamped its operations while keeping it plant-based although his Home Maid isn’t a vegan establishment.
The success of the Baltimore location, amidst the pandemic, inspired Faulcon to open a second location in Baltimore in the city’s Federal Hill neighborhood just after a year. His connection with his local community is said to have also contributed to the growth of his business, enabling him to open his third location in Brooklyn Heights in October 2022.
Cloudy Donut Co. has over 40 unique vegan doughnut flavors like Chocolate Glaze, Boston Cream, and Powdered Jelly made with ingredients such as applesauce, coconut milk, and shortening.
“The shop also serves unique standouts including Grapefruit Mimosa, Mango Chili Lime, and Sweet Potato, according to VegNews.
Having opened the first black-owned business in Brooklyn Heights, Faulcon and his partner want to help other Black entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. According to VegNews, they are already empowering chefs of color through a pop-up series set to roll out soon.
“[Faulcon] and I have a goal to uplift and provide education to Black and people of color that are interested in the culinary space,” Ruffin said. “We want to provide specific systems and education to people and create a conversation that isn’t being had.”