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By Michelle Goodman • Jul 7, 2013 Originally published Aug 8, 2013

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When Rubicon Bakery was put on the market, the seller had one condition: Whoever purchased the company would have to uphold its mission of hiring the homeless, people with criminal records and recovering drug addicts. Rubicon Programs, the social service agency that had owned and operated the Richmond, Calif., wholesale bakery for 17 years, brought in Andrew Stoloff, a seasoned restaurateur, to help find such a buyer. But it was not an easy sale: The bakery's equipment was old and inefficient, there was just one reliable commercial customer, and there were no profits.

During the six months Stoloff tried to help Rubicon Programs sell its flailing sweet shop, a funny thing happened. "I fell in love with their social mission," he says. So in November 2009 he bought the bakery himself, agreeing to honor its commitment to employ and train the economically disadvantaged. But putting that promise to paper wasn't easy. Not only did Stoloff and Rubicon Programs struggle to define how the bakery would maintain its social purpose, they also struggled with how to measure whether it had succeeded in doing so.

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