Great Harvest Bread changing hands

Updated: It’s the end of an era for Bob and Crystal Carlson. After nearly 12 years as owners of the Great Harvest Bread (2218 NW Market St) on Market Street, the couple is handing over the keys to a couple passionate about bread. “It is really a case of ‘the right people at the right time’,” Crystal tells us.

Ballardites Mark and Jackie Winkler were some of the original customers of Great Harvest when the Carlsons first opened and have always thought about owning the shop. Six years ago the Winklers moved to the east coast but the thought of owning a Great Harvest Bread never escaped them. Three years ago when they began to pursue their dream, they landed at the Great Harvest Bread Franchise Office in Montana. At the office, the Winklers had inside information about stores that were for sale. One day, Ballard popped up on the report. “Oh my God, our dream store is now open for sale,” Mark tells us. “I know that Bob and Crystal weren’t actively trying to sell it, but they had had some inquiries and as a result it ended up on the list.”

“We never had plans to close our bakery,” Crystal says, “These guys just called us up one Sunday and told us they were in love with our bakery and that was their dream store and wondered if there was ever any chance that we would be willing to consider selling it or partnering up on another location in our territory. And that began a conversation that evolved into us deciding that it would be fun to try our hands at something new and let some new people love and grow what we had built.”

A few weeks ago the Winklers moved back to Ballard to run the shop.

The Winklers have plans to grow and change the Great Harvest on Market Street, but not for awhile. “We’re not going to be doing anything right away,” Mark tells us, “We’re just kind of gonna get comfortable with where we’re at and see how things go.”

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gracePoolish98225BobGrubby BallardThe Norwegian Recent comment authors
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Fran
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Fran

Their dream is owning a crummy bakery?

Pathetic!!

Dweezil
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Dweezil

Are the new owners planning to move back from the East coast? I can’t imagine operating their dream shop from thousands of miles away.

Ric
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Ric

How do bakeries make money? Even the good ones like Macrina and Besalu must struggle to turn a penny. Even if they sold 100 loafs or pastries a day you’re looking at what ,$400, maybe $500 gross? And that’s the busier ones.Then there’s the rent to be paid, the workers, utilities, etc. It must be like living on $30 a day.

msballard30
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msballard30

Congratulations! We’re going to miss you Crystal and Bob. And thanks for all of your donations to local community groups over the years.

Jaybay Kay
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Jaybay Kay

Yes, congratulations! Running a bakery would be a tough business, but I bet it’s very rewarding. I for one could not get up that early, so I admire those who do.

Let’s hope the negative nasties don’t run roughshod all over this story, like they have so many others. If you can’t say something nice, people, go get some psychiatric help.

Anonymous
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Your dream of one day being human just edged a little bit farther out of reach.

Geeky Swedes
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Dweezil – Thank you for the comment. I clarified the post that the Winklers moved back to Ballard to run the shop. ~Kate

twa514
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twa514

I guess you can’t be in it just for the dough.

Kateo
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Kateo

I’m a former Ballardite (20 years) who moved to Dillon, Montana and worked with Mark and Jackie at the Great Harvest “Breadquarters.” After joining Great Harvest, it was clear Mark was a talented baker and he started doing R&D for the company. I felt SO blessed to have an office above the test kitchen! Mark is a phenomenal artisan baker. Jackie is equally amazing as a business person, friend, mom, etc., etc… We miss them back in Montana, but are very excited they followed in the footsteps of the Carlsons, who are talented, generous, wonderful people. Definitely a case of… Read more »

Pho
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Pho

Who dreams of owning a franchise?

Oh yes, someday I hope to open a Subway!! And any comments criticizing such mundane aspiration MUST BE REMOVED BY THE CENSORSHIP SWEDES.

Pho
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Pho

Nice spin. Artisan baker? Doesn’t Great Harvest require all shops to follow the same rules?

The Norwegian
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The Norwegian

Being your own boss is an “American dream” to many, including myself. Perhaps it’s not for everybody. But don’t bash it until you’ve done it. Certainly are a lot of “experts” out there though with salty opinions. I’m glad many posters don’t run anything but their mouths, as they’d last a month in biz with attitudes/ideals they cling to. I for one will simply go buy their bread (because it’s good) and show ’em support. Still pro-choice when it comes to bread!

Grubby Ballard
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Grubby Ballard

What’s wrong with Wonder Bread? It’s what old Ballard eats not this fancy $5 a loaf yuppie stuff.

Bob
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Bob

It’s not snobby to ask that your bread is made fresh, local, and doesn’t have all sorts of preservatives. A loaf of decent bread shouldn’t cost $1, it should cost about $5. I make less than $20,000/yr and I can afford it just fine.

Poolish98225
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Poolish98225

Wonder Bread might be soft and squishy, perfect for tuna sandwiches, but nutritionally, it’s junk. I suppose it doesn’t qualify as “empty calories” because it is enriched with nutrients, but the refining process removed most naturally occurring beneficial vitamins and minerals.

It’s better to eat Wonder Bread than to go hungry. But it’s MUCH better for you to nourish your body from quality bread, whether you pay $5 a loaf for it, or bake it yourself. And “yuppie stuff” cracks me up! Do the “granolas” know the “yuppies” have been given credit for their healthy bread? LOL.

ballardmama
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ballardmama

I’d rather aspire to own a store in a really great franchise than have my highest aspiration to be the biggest troll on a neighborhood forum.

ballardmama
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ballardmama

I’m not sure but my friend owns Westernco and she manages to somehow make ends meet and another friend is a baker at a different Great Harvest. I imagine that buying their ingredients at such large bulk the price goes down quite a bit from what we buy at the grocery store. I think it’s more about doing what you love than getting rich.

ballardmama
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ballardmama

No, the rules are loose as to what each store can do. The owners make independent decisions on many things having to do with their stores within a loose set of perimeters (ie: don’t turn it into a wine bar because that’s not the business plan). I imagine you’re thinking of franchises like McDonalds. In the real world of business a franchise can mean many many different things.

Kateo
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Kateo

Great question, Pho. Great Harvest was founded in a small town in southwestern Montana 30+ years ago by a couple who made fabulous whole grain bread from scratch, using freshly milled whole grains from local farms. At first they sold bread from the street corner and eventually opened a true bakery. When others wanted to learn about their bread making process and sell their products, they formed a structure (freedom franchise) whereby every bakery would be locally owned and operated. There are few rules, beyond using the wheat sourced from family-owned farmers, milling it daily, and blending the fresh whole… Read more »

Kateo
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Kateo

The Winklers are from Ballard, moved to the east coast and then Montana. They missed Ballard. Me, too. I lived in Ballard for 20 happy years. So they’re back and they bake awesome bread….

grace
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grace

To Mark and Jackie,

Congratulations! Be encouraged that you are not just serving the community but feeding the patrons with healthy ,tasty, nutritious bread, as well. I am a small business owner myself and I know the joys of being one comes from above. In todays economy, not a lot of entrepreneurs nor layman could fathom that money isn’t everything. You are a blessing.

1Thess 11:12 “Make it your ambition to lead a quite life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands…”