For Paula and Ron King, it's all about the dough. As franchisees for Great Harvest Bread Co., they know a good loaf when they see one. This husband-and-wife team opened their first bread store in 1985 in Lexington, Kentucky. With no prior experience in the bread business, Paula and Ron moved from Denver to Lexington in pursuit of a simpler life-and their new franchise.
"We love good bread and we love to cook," Ron says. "It was a confluence of all kinds of things, both personal and professional."With $45,000 in start-up capital, the Kings learned the delicate art of baking bread from Great Harvest's founders, Pete and Laura Wakeman. The Wake-mans spent 10 days with the Kings at their Lexington location-the first Great Harvest franchise east of the Mississippi. After years of rising early, the Kings opened their second Lexington location in 1993.
Specializing in whole wheat bread, Great Harvest stores are among the few bakeries that mill their own wheat. And, unlike so many other specialty bread stores, Paula says, they bake "everyday" bread. "We start from scratch every day," she says. "We don't make anything from mixes. As far as bread quality, we focus on the very best ingredients."
Free slices of hot bread whet every customer's appetite. "Our store focuses on keeping hot bread on the breadboard," Paula says. "Generosity has always been a big part of [our mission]."
With sales projections of $1.4 million for 2001, Ron believes success comes by finding something you love to do. "In our case," he says, "it was bread and chocolate chip cookies."
- Great Harvest Bread Co., (859) 223-7603, fax: (859) 224-2108