Grown from a local small business to a now 30-cafe expansion across nine states, Saxbys’ success is just a snapshot of the businesses starting and growing in our region. From the moment Saxbys defined its mission and core values of “Make Life Better,” it has shaped into everything the company does and factors into their strategic decision making – which includes making choices that aren’t immediately profitable.

In fact, Saxbys Founder & CEO, Nick Bayer, says a lot of people are surprised to learn that Saxbys was philanthropic before it was profitable. The company considers itself to be a community serving its community, where their cafes work to be welcoming spaces for the surrounding areas they serve. But Saxbys works to also act as a resource surrounding communities – whether it’s donating part of their proceeds to non-profits like Big Brothers Big Sisters (which 10% of Thrive Water Bottle sales go toward) or offering up their Center City headquarters as a meeting space for a nearby business or as an event space for fundraisers.

As Saxbys has found success growing locally, Philadelphia is unique in that the people here are proud and supportive of local businesses, and local businesses are supportive of each other. Saxbys works with a number of local entrepreneurs in the food industry which includes selling products made by local companies, like kombucha from West Chester’s Baba’s Brew, popcorn from Trenton’s Capital Corn and Confection, granola from York’s Nuts About Granola, and dried fruit from Philly’s Mavuno Harvest.

HQ Party-10

When it comes to a sources of inspiration, Bayer cited Vernick as one of the many businesses in the region with a people-first mentality that he admires. “Vernick is one of my favorite examples of a place that excels not only in the quality of their product but also in the level of service. I always say it’s like going over to eat at your best friend’s house, if you’re lucky enough that your buddy is an excellent cook.” He also attributes transforming from a product-first business into a people-first based on Danny Meyer’s book, Setting the Table, in which Meyer credits all his success in the restaurant business to his focus on hospitality