We just returned from our fourth (Matt’s fifth) Great Harvest Convention, the annual get-together of the bakery owners. This year we returned to the beautiful Marriott on Marco Island – a repeat location of our first convention. The years in between we went to San Diego and Tucson, and next year’s convention will be in Palm Springs! Hope we can go : ) The Marco Island Marriott is just gorgeous and one of the best (the best?) resorts I have ever been to. The property is immaculate, the restaurants plentiful and impressive, the rooms (and toiletries) really high quality and the staff – absolutely the nicest I’ve ever spoken with. The only downside is it’s expensive, but that is to be expected, I suppose. But we would definitely consider going back for a family vacation some time. To go from drab winter to this! Vitamin D replenished. We arrived on Saturday night and raced to get dinner before putting Mazen to bed after a long day of travel with almost no nap. We ate at Quinn’s on the Beach and enjoyed a gorgeous al fresco view, wine and some incredible food. Matt, Mazen and I shared fish tacos, conch chowder and a big watermelon and feta arugula salad We were all tired, so we went to bed and saved our energy for the next day at the pool and beach. Mazen has developed a fear of sand for some reason and it took a while to be able to put him down, but after a few tries he got the hang of the “toes in the sand” feeling. It reset when we went inside and came out the next day though! That’s my cutie boy! He learned how to say sand and ocean on our trip : ) Kiss mama! While Mazen napped during the day (for a good two hours – score!) Matt and I traded time by the pool. I enjoyed a glorious afternoon reading The Light Between The Oceans in the warm shade. In the mornings we went for lovely runs and walks in the sunshine, and in the afternoons, we played. Mazen jumps right off the side without a care to who is going to catch him! Once the convention began Sunday evening we had less free time but made the most of it when we could. One afternoon we had deep conversations about marketing and bread quality out in the sunshine. This is Matt Salis, owner of Great Harvest Denver. He is the COOLEST of the owners and also happens to be a regular KERF reader! Mazen learned that sand is way more fun if you have trucks. Thanks to the family next to us who shared! There was a business side of convention – I actually did a presentation along with two other owners on taking photos of bread for marketing and how to use your phone to streamline the process.
I took this shot of Honey Whole Wheat a few years ago and it has been used in a ton of Great Harvest marketing materials, including this big screen at convention! When we weren’t networking or splashing in the pool, we were dressed up for dinner on the beach. We had a glorious trip and I am even more excited for warm weather to arrive than ever!
Up next: Convention food!