MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG first met Tracy Burgess at the Dorothy Day House, an organization providing transitional housing for homeless families. She is also the co-founder of Lucy J’s Bakery in Crosstown. Lucy J’s is known for their handmade croissants and amazing cinnamon rolls but they’re so much more than a bakery.
“It came about as a way to serve others,” explained Tracy.
Nine years ago, Tracy and her husband Josh started baking. They would join families at the Dorothy Day House in prayer and then serve up their tasty treats. Through serving, they met families that needed a better paying job to rebuild their lives.
“They were working a job that was either full time with low wages or they were working a part-time job where the money didn’t make ends meet,” she said.
The pair, who has years of experience in the restaurant industry, were looking at starting a restaurant.
“As we started to envision and dream of what this place could be, we thought, what if we hire, intentionally hire, parents that we meet through the Dorothy Day House,” she said.
At Lucy J’s they offer full-time and part-time employment with the starting pay of $15 an hour, well above the Tennessee state minimum wage. Offering that rate is a core value of theirs.
“It was really important to us that if someone was going to work here for 40 hours that they were going to have enough money to at least make a go of it,” said Josh Burgess.
WREG’s Corie Ventura caught up with Sheryl, a single mother of two, who was in the middle of rolling out, cutting and decorating sugar cookies.
“They provided a way for me that I couldn’t do for myself at the moment,” she said. “They pay you a good rate to be able to stand back on your own feet.”
Sheryl said she doesn’t have to work around the clock just to make ends meet. The higher wage allows her to work her normal shifts and still have time and energy to spend with her kids.
That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Lucy J’s Bakery a check for $1,000. They are a true community changer.