Editor's Note: A previous version of this article stated Sea Salt and Cinnamon owners are searching for a property when they already have secured one within 102 S Walnut St. It has since been corrected.
After years of steady customer growth and community expansion, President of Sea Salt and Cinnamon Amanda Reninger is ready to take the next step — a storefront in downtown Muncie.
Currently, she has a Kickstarter and is trying to raise $30,000 which she will use for equipment, renovations and other miscellaneous items. Reninger hopes to officially open the storefront in mid-September this year.
“We’re just really excited to finally be able to have a space to call our own home—to call our own for the business,” she said.
The bakery was originally founded as a way for Reninger to make food for her husband, Kyle Reninger, after he developed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in 2009 and couldn’t consume cholesterol anymore. The two of them decided to become vegans to monitor his health problems, and Sea Salt and Cinnamon took off from there.
To order Sea Salt and Cinnamon’s homemade treats, visit the website at seasaltandcinnamon.com. Delivery is available on select days in Muncie, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Indiana.
“I wanted my husband to have something delicious to eat,” Amanda Reninger said in a video on the bakery’s website. “[The cupcakes] started as this way to love my husband, and they have grown into a way that I love other people.”
The bakery officially opened in 2014 after a couple of the Reningers’ friends spread the word and, then, even strangers were asking for some cupcakes.
Olivia Fellows, friend of Amanda Reninger and lead advisor for Ball State’s Center for Medical Education at IU School of Medicine, has seen Sea Salt and Cinnamon grow since almost the beginning.
“It has been a journey that is not without its challenges and they have taken the leap to expand to a storefront,” Fellows said via email. “This dream is now a realization and they have done so with care and consideration to continue their sustainable practices.”
Fellows said her favorite memory with Amanda Reninger was staying up all night to make vegan pretzels and packaging them before the 2018 Muncie Gras.
“Muncie will be a better place with Sea Salt and Cinnamon’s continual growth,” she said. “Amanda and Kyle have invested in Muncie and they need this community to continue to believe and invest in them. They will continue to deliver some of the best vegan treats around.”
Once the storefront opens, Amanda Reninger plans to serve the same types of savory items and pastries currently on the business’ website, including Buddha bowls, cupcakes and more.
“We plan to have the same types of foods that people have seen us do all around at different events and things, but just in one place,” she said.
One feature of the Sea Salt and Cinnamon storefront will be a “pay-what-you-can” area. Reninger said customers who are able can purchase food for others who can’t normally afford the products. Then, people can either pay a fraction of the cost or nothing at all to take the item from the designated area. The Reningers plan to also add items that are going to expire soon.
“It’s really all about compassion for us,” said Kyle Reninger, co-owner and president of acquisitions at Sea Salt and Cinnamon, in a May 12 press release. “Just as our food invites people into compassion, we want a physical space to invite people into compassion as well.”
Amanda Reninger said the pay-what-you-can area will serve to offer Sea Salt and Cinnamon’s products to lower-income customers.
“When we say ‘community,’ we mean the whole community,” she said. “So, we want them to be able to have our food as well. Whether they want it because it’s locally made or it’s a little bit healthier for them, or whatever. We want everyone to be able to have an option.”
Though Sea Salt and Cinnamon will be expanding, staff will still set up booths at local farmers markets and continue their partnership with Ball State dining halls and other businesses. The Reningers plan on continuing the distribution of their products as long as they can.
“We don’t feel like the Muncie market is oversaturated with our stuff,” Amanda Reninger said. “So, we will keep doing what we’re doing, and in order for all of this to work financially, we really have to.”
After operating the business for seven years without a designated storefront, Reninger said she is looking forward to renting a property.
“We've really taken the time to be able to set ourselves up for something,” she said. “There's hopefully a solid foundation. There's obviously things we don't know we're going to come up against — a lot of new challenges — but we're just really excited.”
Contact Lauren Clark with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.