The Road To Great Harvest

January 8, 2011

In October 2008, Matt got a job at Great Harvest after a career slump of unemployment.

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Read the announcement here!

You can read more about his career change on the Great Harvest Business Blog!

When we made the decision to pursue the bakery, we had our sights set on Charleston. But we soon learned that the location had already been claimed and we started considering other places to move.

We considered Savannah and Jacksonville, Asheville and Wilmington but Charlottesville was high on the list. We took a visit with Karen in July 2009 to test the waters. And we loved it!

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That October we traveled to Dillon, Montana to the GH headquarters for an official interview. It was a super fun and exciting trip and we came home as future bakery owners!

Flyin’ High To Big Sky

All’s Quite On The Western Front

Bear & Breakfast

Middle Earth

33 And Loopy

The Frontier

Steak Is In Da House

Bread Or Bust

Twice Baked

I took a controversial day off of my internship (and worked a few Saturdays in a row) to take a bakery hunting trip to Charlottesville.

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Our very first location fell through, so we had to take another spontaneous trip to Charlottesville in May.

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We thought we had found another good location.

After my internship ended, I spent a morning at GH Charlotte to check out the inner workings

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I also wrote this blurb about my roles at the bakery at the time

I DO intend to work at the bakery. No, that’s not a waste of an RD degree!! In fact, all my foodservice and food safety training is going to come in handy dandy :) RDs work in such a variety of fields that my jobs as a healthy food blogger and bakery owner are actually quite the perfect fit. Not all RDs work in a clinical setting, and I never intended to go into clinical (I had originally wanted to open a private practice but I think already having duel small businesses means I will probably not venture in the private practice direction any more than online consultations someday…)

So, Matt, Karen (my mother-in-law, who is moving to Cville too) and I are going to split the work to our strengths:

Matt with the food science and all operations

Karen with the bookkeeping, legal, payroll paperwork

Me with the marketing, PR, community relations, customer service and bread eating :mrgreen:

At least initially, I expect to do a lot more of the hands-on bakery work. But as we get more comfortable with our staff, I hope to step back my hours to part time so I can continue on other paths of life (blog, book, kids!)

Then came the fun part: moving to Cville! As you probably know, we love it here! More than I ever would have imagined.

House hunting trip in Charlottesville

Farewell to Charlotte

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MOVING DAY

In late July, right around when we moved, we decided to step away from a scary lease and start our location hunt from scratch. It was a bold move, but we are so glad we did it.

Because we found…McIntire Plaza!

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Our future location!

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Right now it’s a T-shirt printer, but we hope it will be a swanky bread bakery in a matter of months!

This journey has been nerve-wracking and it’s only just beginning. But we believe in the business, ourselves and of course, bread : )

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jasmine @ Eat Move Write January 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I really enjoyed that recap. It’s such a cool idea to open up a bakery. Good luck to you both!

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2 JenATX January 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I agree, great recap & what a cool journey. I am jealous of your official task of bread eating haha… I am so excited to see the rest of the work come together :)

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3 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) January 8, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Good luck! How exciting :)

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4 Sarah @ See Sarah Graduate January 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Such a great recap. I’m so excited to see what happens for you guys in 2011! I’ll be in Charlottesville in April to see President Sullivan get inaugurated @ UVA and if it’s up and running by then, I’ll definitely be stopping by! :)

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5 Alayna @ Thyme Bombe January 8, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Congratulations! Seems like it’s finally all coming together.

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6 Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty January 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm

SO EXCITING congrats!!

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7 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine January 8, 2011 at 1:02 pm

It’s so crazy looking back at all those old photos and realizing how much time has passed- I remember all the announcement post, and it seemed so far away- now it’s finally crunch time!! Good luck in Montana :)

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8 Missy January 8, 2011 at 1:03 pm

What an exciting adventure! I have been following along with your journey. I have to say you could not have picked a better business. We drive am hour one way to get our GH fix!!

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9 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Kath what a wonderful journey you guys have had so far with it…not always easy, I’m sure. And probably not always according to “plan”, but your attitude is inspiring and I know you guys are going to be crazy successful with your biz!!

Love all the pics of you!

And once day about 12 yrs ago my hubs and I moved to Wilmington, NC on a whim from Chicago. Long story. But we spent a few yrs there and loved it. We live in San Diego now and will never move…just randomly mentioning that b/c you said you toyed w/ the idea of Wilmington, too.

:)

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10 jen @ taste life January 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

That was great to read. I remember when you were still in PR and I have no idea what Matt was doing. Such a fun process to watch!

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11 Cathy B. @ Bright Bakes January 8, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I love this post…as a small batch “orders-only” artisan baker, your Great Harvest posts are some of my favs! :)
love,
cathy b. @ brightbakes

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12 Dorry January 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm

So fun to look back on how it all came together! I know y’all will be very successful and can’t wait to read about the opening one day. :)

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13 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) January 8, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I am so excited for the 3 of you! What a dream come true!

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14 Emily @ One Sweet Vegan January 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm

That was fun to read, especially since I only just started reading your blog a couple months ago. I’ll have to go back and read all those past blog posts you linked to. Thanks! :-)

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15 MaryBe@AccidentallyVegan January 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

It was great to re-read your journey! Looking forward to stopping in on our travels to and from the South

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16 Kelly January 8, 2011 at 1:21 pm

I’m so excited for you guys. I just know everything is going to work out perfectly and you’ll be bread baking (and eating :)) in no time!

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17 Lindsey@DishesNDiapers January 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

I can’t wait to see where this journey takes you guys! I love seeing people going for their dreams!

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18 Lauren at KeepItSweet January 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm

It is SO exciting and it has been terrific to get to read about your journey!

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19 Camille January 8, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I really enjoyed the recap! I am so happy for you guys and I can’t wait to see how the bakery continues to develop!

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20 Heather (Heather's Dish) January 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

i loved being able to go back and read all about y’alls journey…so inspiring!

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21 Kel@The Kel Show January 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

How I wish I lived there so I could visit your Great Harvest!

I love my local ones here in Minneapolis. High 5 Fiber is my fave, with premium White being my second. Hey, a girl has to have a little grilled cheese on white once in a while, right?

So enjoying your adventures. I see WE are getting the benefit of you getting stuck in the airport!

Continued safe travels!

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22 A. January 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Why was the day off from the internship controversial?

And your newest bakery is IN chalottesville, where you also live now…right? Where is Charlottesville? (I’m Canadian)…what state is it in? Is it in the same state as Caitlin and some others you used to live near?

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23 Kath January 8, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Controversial because we were allowed ZERO vacation days and I had to work on a Saturday to get permission to go.

The bakery is in Charlottesville, Virginia, where we live and moved. Not at all near Caitlin, who lives where we came from, Charlotte, North Carolina (5 hours away).

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24 Kristy @ KristyRuns January 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm

Thanks for the recap! It’s fun to see how much can change in a matter of months. Can’t wait to see where y’all will be next year!

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25 kailey @ caffienated nut January 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm

ahh congrats kath!! your bakery will be amazing – because everything will be made with love, which is the magic touch!

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26 Gina January 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm

All the best, Kath! Such an awesome business venture!

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27 carlee January 8, 2011 at 1:55 pm

LOVE BREAD.
Your husband is a cutayyyy girl! go get em’! haha.

I love all the pictures you guys take together…adorable! :)

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28 Trish @I_am_Succeeding January 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Congrats on your great adventure…when I go to visit my Dad I will be sure to look your bakery up!

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29 Ida January 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm

what a journey!! I wish I lived in the area so I could help with the bread eating too.

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30 Stacy @ Every Little Thing January 8, 2011 at 2:10 pm

As a newish reader, I’m thankful for the recap! I just passed a Great Harvest today. They have definitely donated to causes I’ve worked with before, so I’m sure you guys will have your hand in some great non-profit work as well!

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31 Caroline January 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I love Great Harvest Bread! I think it is amazing that ya’ll will have your very own Great Harvest! I wish I was remotely a risk taker as I would love to own my own business too.

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32 Maryann (The Balanced Bean) January 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm

What an exciting time! Congrats, cant wait to read all about it. :)

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33 Katherine: Unemployed January 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I love the motif of colors. there are some great autumn colors reflected in this post :) if that’s not too weird of a thing to say…

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34 Maddie (Healthy Maddie) January 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm

How exciting and fun! I can’t wait to see you open your own Great Harvest!

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35 Faith @ lovelyascharged January 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Such a fun opportunity – thanks for sharing your journey!

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36 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama January 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Thanks for this great recap. I wish you the best of luck on the next leg of your journey!

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37 Little Bookworm January 8, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Congratulations on finding a location. :) Loved reading all the past posts about the bakery journey!

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38 Anna @ ciaotochow January 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

I love this little documentation of how you guys got where you are today :) Love the pics and love your house (I’m assuming that’s it!)

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39 skinnyrunner January 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm

LOVED the recap from start to finish of a little part of what you guys have been through and going through. best of luck!

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40 Allie January 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

So exciting ! I enjoyed reading about your history AND future!! You guys are hard workers and you are def. not wasting your RD degree, at all :) I love how you listed what you will be doing .. especially bread eating HAHA !

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41 wendy sue January 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Yay! So excited for GH to come to Cville. Congratulations, I know I will be visiting! Plus is a great location and easy parking! On break you can browse Circa and Recycled posessions which is always fun!

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42 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Cool recap Kath! I can’t wait to see the bakery when it’s all said and done!

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43 Justeen @ Blissful Baking January 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Thanks for sharing the recap! Can’t wait to hear more about your bakery in the future!

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44 Kristen @ Kristen, Sweetly January 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Congrats!!!! That location looks just as beautiful as that sandwich. :-)

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45 trang January 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm

I love the recap and love reading about your food adventures. Is it strange that I kinda want to go to Charlottesville just to see the amazing-ness that will be your bakery!

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46 Shannon (A Better Me) January 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Best of luck on this new and exciting journey! I hope you have TONS of success :D

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47 Suzanne @ continuing my education January 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Can’t wait for the bakery to be opened!! What a great journey!

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48 Laura @ Backstage Pass January 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm

What an adventure it’s been – congratulations! Cheers to your week in Montana, and to the opening of your bakery in a few months!

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49 Eating Bird Food January 8, 2011 at 5:11 pm

Please invite me to grand opening!! I can’t wait. :)

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50 Allison @ Happy Tales January 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm

Kath, I am so happy to see that everything has fallen into place for you all. You are so, so blessed. Blessed in everything you do, in everyone you have met, and you are a blessing (and an inspiration!) to those you share your blog with!

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51 Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Great Harvest sure has taken you on quite a journey!! And it’s almost opening time!! It’ll come so quick, how exciting! :)

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52 Amanda (Eating Up) January 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

That sounds like so much fun! I love GH!

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53 Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert January 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Can’t wait! We’re just up the road in Fredericksburg so we will be coming for our bread! Have a great trip and learn lots!

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54 Amy January 8, 2011 at 8:28 pm

This was really fun to read. I can’t wait for your bakery to open – I can taste the pumpkin chocolate chip bread already. Mmmm.

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55 Lindsey @ Enjoying Healthy Foods January 8, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Congratulations! How exciting!!!! :) I love GH and a HUGE fan of EVERYTHING there!

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56 Juliet January 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Oh my goodness I’ve been reading you for a little while now and didn’t know you were opening a Great Harvest. Good company! Our town (Temecula) got a Great Harvest a couple of years ago — owned by two really nice sisters and their husbands who all work there together. Great sandwiches, great breads, great overall vibe. Yum yum. Everyone who goes there loves it. They make this one bread that tastes and smells just like incredible cinnamon toast. Congratulations & good luck:-)

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57 sassy molassy January 8, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I’m excited for you guys. I think it’s not only gutsy, but a great business decision. I mean who doesn’t love good healthy bread? And every time I read about your great harvest adventures it makes me want to run to our nearest GH and buy a loaf or two. ;)

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58 Hannah January 8, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Loved this recap! Of course, I’ve been reading throughout all of this, but it’s amazing to see how much of a coherent “story” this path to your bakery has been. So glad the scary lease didn’t become a reality for you,too!

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59 Natali January 9, 2011 at 2:49 am

My neighbors moved here like 11 years ago to start a Great Harvest in Logan, Utah! They have loved every minute of it and so have I!!!! My favorite part about them being my neighbors is free bread! I’m totally jealous of you guys! Good luck! You’ll be rollin’ in the dough in no time! ;)

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60 Maria @ The Fitted Apron January 9, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Congratulations on the location. Can’t wait to see the swanky bakery up and running.

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61 The Healthy Apple January 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Wahooooooo!! Yea for you; so happy for you Kath. Go Get Em Girl!

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62 Ffion @ Chocolate & Raspberries January 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm

This sounds like such an amazing opportunity! I wish that Great Harvest would decide to operate in the UK as this would be right up my street!

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63 Olivia October 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I was thinking about going to culinary school and then maybe opening up a bakery. Do you work long hours?

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64 KathEats October 14, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Yes…Matt works 12 hours days currently, and I’m filling in on top of that. For a while we were both working full time. It’s a ton of time, but totally worth it

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65 Nikole July 25, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Thank you so much for this information, I live in charlotte and I am trying to go back to school. I have a bachelors already and I was looking for information about dietitian degrees and what was available in charlotte, when I found your blog. This is wonderful information and SUPER helpful! Thank you for taking the time to write all of this down! I hope you’re having a beautiful day.

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