Everyday Bread…Baked Extraordinarily
May 5, 2016 Matt Salis - Owner, Great Harvest Bread Co. of Denver
Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to move forward. That is exactly what we have done at the Great Harvest Bread Co. of Denver. While other small mom-and-pop bread businesses have made drastic changes following the whims of the consumer, we have remained stubbornly true to who we are even taking a page from our history to cling to our mission. How many other small independently owned whole grain bread bakeries are there in town? How many do you know? The movie Tommy Boy starring Chris Farley (who my wife might have accidentally poisoned, but that is a story for another day - ask me about that the next time you are in the bakery) and David Spade is one of my very favorite movies of all time. In it the head strong father figure and entrepreneur played by Brian Dennehy has a classic line when explaining a new project his company is undertaking. He says describing the world of business, “You’re either growing or you’re dieing…there ain’t no third direction.” Tom Sr. is onto something. That is why most bread companies spend little or no time or energy making bread. Panera? They are on record and self described as a restaurant. The bakery at Whole Foods? They focus on the trend of the moment, not what is good for their customers, the farmers they serve or the community in which they operate. Both of them bake off frozen bread and tout it as fresh baked. I can nuke a cup of cold coffee, but it doesn’t make it fresh brewed. Still, Panera and Whole Foods are doing what they need to do to thrive. They are following the fad diets, the buzz and the headlines and producing a product that is mediocre at best but hits the interest points of the readers of factually flawed and scientifically inaccurate books and articles. The fact is that the truth would put them out of the bread baking business. And out of business is exactly where the independent bakeries that had a conscience and cared about the long-term health of their consumers are. You’re either growing by following fads or dieing by staying true to the truth that is at your wholesome core.
Father Tom was off just a little bit. There is a third direction – backwards. Anyone who has stuck with me to paragraph number two is probably aware of our Everyday Bread Sale featuring our best selling Honey Whole Wheat bread. We have gone back in time and reduced our price to $4.99. That is 20% off our regular price of $6.25 and less expensive per ounce than all of the all natural whole grain grocery store breads. Why have we taken such a chunk out of our margin? Because in order to move forward we have to take a big step back. The fact is that popular misconception is taking a big bite out of our business. Our beloved Denver neighbors are drinking the Kool-Aid and believing the hype. Either because they incorrectly believe whole grains are fattening or because they wrongly think going gluten free is the key to health, people are removing bread from their lives at an alarming rate. We can no longer sit back and sell 100% whole grain all natural healthy bread to our remaining loyal fans who know what is good for them and appreciate hand-crafted quality. We now need to sell bread to everyone…everyone who still eats bread, that is. That is why at $4.99 for 35 ounces of bread, our 14 cents per ounce Honey Whole Wheat is cheaper than all the rest of the grocery store “quality” brands.
We don’t want to be a restaurant, although we love selling tons of delicious sandwiches as a way to feature our fresh and delicious bread. We refuse to cut corners and bake smaller loaves with inferior ingredients. That is just not who we are. So, we are taking money out of our own pockets and undercutting the competition. When have you ever heard of the category leader in terms of quality and customer satisfaction being the cheapest deal in town? Can you buy a Mercedes for less than a Kia? Have you ever purchased a gallon of Royal Crest milk that was cheaper than the grocery store equivalent? No. But you can now buy the best 100% whole grain bread on the planet at the Great Harvest Bread Co. of Denver for less than you pay anywhere else. And you should be very glad you can. It is the ultimate win/win situation.
Before you feel bad for our profit margin, consider the fact that there is more than one way to skin a cat. Our step back is allowing us to take a huge leap forward. As I learned in business school many years ago, there is a successful strategy where a company might not make a sustainable profit per unit at their existing sales rate, but they can make it up on volume. That’s right. We are going to hand-craft so much Honey Whole Wheat bread that our arms will be ready to fall off. In just the first few weeks of this strategic change our volume is already up. Way up. But in order to keep this price we knead the growth in volume to continue. We are not yet close to a volume that is sustainable at this price level.
That is where you come in. You are our loyal customers and bread ambassadors. Share this good news of money saved for the class leader in bread quality with everyone you know. When I talk to friends and neighbors I don’t hear many people complaining that they just have too much money in their monthly grocery budget. Times are tough. The economy is flat at best, and we are counting on a liar or a pathological lunatic to fix it? Let the Great Harvest Bread Co. of Denver be a part of the solution. We are not going to fix the national deficit or end conflict in the Middle East (neither are the liar or lunatic, by the way), but we are trying to put a few more bucks in your pockets and the pockets of your friends and neighbors so you will put a few more bucks in ours. If you help spread the word about the great “deal on bread,” we will bring the “sale” to and end and make $4.99 for Honey Whole Wheat the new regular price. If we are successful, we will probably include Dakota bread and Nine Grain Crunch in the deal, too. Everyday bread baked extraordinarily.
It is up to you. We are doing all we can do. We are sharing the news of our price decrease in all of the channels available to us – in store advertising, electronic communication, all of our community marketing and social media. Now we knead you to help spread the word. Forward this email to your friends and family. Go to our facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/greatharvestdenver- and LIKE our page and SHARE our posts. The next time your neighbor is complaining about making ends meet, tell them the good news. Buy an extra loaf for a friend. That $4.99 investment just might turn into a $1.26 per loaf saving for you for the foreseeable future.
If fewer people are going to live a healthy natural life with delicious and nutritional bread at its core, then we knead all the remaining truth-knowing consumers on our team. You are on our team and we are thankful for you. Please help us recruit some more members to our team. It is good for you, it is good for us and it is good for your friends and neighbors. We have backed-up a step. Now let’s launch forward together!
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Great Harvest Bread Co.
765 South Colorado Boulevard
Denver, Colorado 80246
Open Mon. - Fri. 6am - 3pm
Sat. 8am - 3pm, Closed Sun.