For most young people graduating from high school and embarking on a musical career, the road is tough. But for musician-turned-baker Hank McCoy (his given name is Ronald Spencer), he quickly found success after graduating from Penn Wood High School in 2006.
McCoy’s music was featured on ESPN, an MTV show and multiple commercials, and, most notably, he was a go-to producer for acclaimed Philly-based musician Chill Moody. By 2017, McCoy had taken a step back from performing to pursue a burgeoning career as a DJ, performing all over Philadelphia and the region. But in 2020, with the pandemic shutting down music venues across the country, McCoy was at an impasse and needed to find a new path.
“Baking has always been something I’ve done, but never as something I would pursue professionally,” McCoy explains. “Sometimes I would bake for family dinners or other times impressing girls with it.”
One person he impressed with his baking, Roxanne Davis, became his fiancée, and, in the fall of 2022, his wife. With the pandemic also disrupting the couple’s outings to cafes, Davis had a craving for cinnamon buns. Although that was one thing McCoy had never made, he wanted to impress Davis, so he set to work researching recipes. When the time came to sample the final product, McCoy was unprepared for the reaction.
“She immediately was just like, ‘Yo, seriously, you should really try selling these.’”
It’s pretty amazing to know that people are really enjoying what I do.”
— Hank McCoy, owner of Hank’s Cinnamon Buns
McCoy readily admits that he has always been the kind of guy with a million ideas that he rarely follows through on, but his fiancée’s emphatic response inspired him to take it seriously. McCoy baked enough cinnamon buns for 25 four-packs and announced to friends and family on Instagram that they were for sale. Within a few days he was sold out.
Serendipitously, McCoy’s longtime musical collaborator Chill Moody had started his own line of kombucha and was selling it at Weavers Way. Seeing the buzz on social media, Moody called Candy Hasan, vendor diversity program coordinator at Weavers Way, and let her know about McCoy.
“Weavers Way came reaching out to me, and I immediately had to make everything legit and like legal and have the proper licenses and everything.”
“They helped me a lot just in terms of brand recognition and being in the three stores from the beginning of my business,” McCoy says. “It gives me a bit of credibility in the consumers’ eyes.”
McCoy also speaks highly of the vendor diversity program. In his view it’s not just a way for Weavers Way to get individual businesses in the store, but also brings those businesses together so they can share tips, make connections and have someone else to lean on when growing a business gets tough.
As for McCoy, the growing part is no longer a worry of his. Since launching in Weavers Way, Hank’s Cinnamon Buns can also be found at three farmers markets and five cafes as well as various pop-ups throughout the region. This type of success has left McCoy with no regrets for trading his turntable mixer for a baking mixer.
“It’s similar to music in a way that I’m creating, going out to the public and getting a response from them. It’s pretty amazing to know that people are really enjoying what I do.”