Brandon Adams (L) at the UBS Disruptors panel. Photo: Epicenter-NYC

Lloyd’s Carrot Cake proprietor Brandon Adams had just finished talking about staying true to his late parents’ legacy when the news came. The New York City Council had just approved co-naming a street after them: Betty and Lloyd Way. 

Brandon Adams was a speaker in June at an Epicenter-NYC interactive discussion, sponsored by UBS, on how businesses can scale while staying true to their values. Adams’ family has owned the carrot cake distributor in Riverdale and East Harlem for more than 30 years. In 2020, when his mother died, he took on a much bigger role in the family business. 

“Obviously, the idea of being mainstream is very appealing,” Adams says. “But we feel like we’re artists too. Every time one of our bakers makes a cake, every time one of our frosters frosts a cake, it’s an artist and product. And that process, in the way it’s currently done, does have limits in terms of capacities with production.”

So while he’d love to be in every supermarket and bodega across the world, Adams gets real on why he’s not: “We don’t want to sacrifice the quality of our product. And it’s a tricky dance because we definitely want to grow.”

During a breakout in the discussion, the roomful of entrepreneurs and business leaders was asked to articulate their business values. Adams joined the exercise: “Just continue to produce our products from scratch with natural ingredients. We are literally grinding up thousands of pounds of carrots a day. It starts with the carrot and we’re grinding it down twice. We’re staying true to the recipes and also just honoring our parents through the storytelling that we do. No matter how big this thing grows, they’re the foundation of everything that we have here. We continue to honor everything that they did and sacrifice for us to get here.”

While the transfer of ownership of Lloyd’s occurred as the result of tragedy—Lloyd died in 2007 and Betty in 2020—what’s being built is emblematic of something UBS senior vice president of wealth management, Rajas Desai, and I talked about recently. “Generation one is where this wealth was accumulated, whether through entrepreneurship or building a business. Generation two has seen the efforts of their family work through this. We’re seeing that these individuals not only care about giving back to their children, but they’re also thinking about their community. And that community view has really brought this ability to create a notion that we’re going to have more equity, more representation, more inclusion. The key component here is that wealth is being transferred for a purpose. And that purpose isn’t necessarily just inwards, but it’s also outwards.”

Indeed, when the people gathered at UBS’ Midtown Manhattan office were informed that the City Council had announced its decision, they erupted into applause and Adams smiled: “We’re really excited that their legacy will be cemented right in front of our shops.  Wow.”

S. Mitra Kalita is a veteran journalist, media executive, prolific commentator and author of two books. In 2020 she launched Epicenter-NYC, a newsletter to help New Yorkers get through the pandemic. Mitra...

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1 Comment

  1. Gee, I just stopped by Lloyd’s yesterday to buy a slice of cake and was shocked to learn that the price had increased 44%. I am all for incremental price increases to keep up with rising costs, but 44% overnight seems more like gouging. No explanation offered. I won’t go back. 98355

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