Montclair Bread Co. (MBC) has received tons of free publicity by being a community bakery. Today, the Montclair, NJ-based bakery’s brand and its reputation are flourishing because of its support of the local schools, partnering with other local businesses, and even organizing a 5K, “Fueled by Doughnuts,” run that attracts 3,000 participants to the annual event. In return, the bakery has been featured in local newspapers, Runner’s World, The New York Times and Forbes magazine.

“You can grow your brands by building your community,” Rachel Wyman, the bakery’s owner, told an audience during the American Society of Baking’s BakingTech in Chicago. “It’s free marketing. I just do crazy stuff and people notice.”

Despite its name, MBC is most known for its signature donuts. In fact, Ms. Wyman described the business as “a bread bakery with a donut addiction.”

Shortly after its opening, the bakery began making gourmet donuts on Sundays only. Word got around and lines soon spread down the block before the limited supply ran out. Noticing that a vast number of most loyal customers were runners, Ms. Wyman organized the annual 5K event. Initially, 250 people participated, but the bakery had to cap entries at 3,000 three years ago because of its popularity and the bakery’s ability to make only so many donuts. Finishers receive a medal, a T-shirt and MBC’s donuts. Proceeds go to a rotation of local charities.

If you’re looking to expand your business, try being a good neighbor. Everybody will love you for it.