Our little bakery in Factoria, at just 1350 sq ft, is a powerhouse! We grind bushels of wheat daily on a stone mill, producing the freshest, best-tasting wholegrain flour available anywhere. We make multiple bread doughs every day using a 140 qt mixer, hand-knead hundreds of loaves on our big, beautiful John Boos kneading table, and bake them a 36-bun pan oven. We slice fresh meats, cheeses & veggies for the“Best Sandwiches on the Eastside – It’s the Bread, of Course!” We mix up a full line of muffins, scones, bars, & cookies - all made from scratch. And we run to serve our customers. It’s a hoppin’ place, and I’m lucky to be the owner and part of the crew!
I moved from Montana to Redmond in 1980 with my husband & two small daughters (one more baby came later) to open the first Great Harvest Bread Co. in the Greater Seattle area. At that time, Great Harvest was a brand new venture. It was started by Pete & Laura Wakeman in 1976. They were young Cornell graduates who wandered out to wheat country seeking a “real” way to make a living. They found a dusty, old, abandoned bakery in downtown Great Falls, Montana, cleaned it up, and starting making & selling wholegrain bread. Their concept was to re-invent the small, family-owned bread bakery with everything made from scratch. They purchased wheat from local farmers & milled it into flour daily. They kneaded the bread by hand and sold it fresh & warm on the premises – at a time when mass-produced bread shipped out to grocery stores in semi’s was the lastest, greatest trend. Turns out that other people loved Pete & Laura’s concept, too, so the Wakemans soon were helping others open new Great Harvest bakeries. Our bakery in Redmond was the sixth to open. Pete & Laura’s business model was exceptional as well. They hated conformity and believed in freedom & creative innovation. So Great Harvest owners around the country have only these rules – to grind their wheat fresh daily & make delicious Honey Whole Wheat bread. The joy of being a Great Harvest owner is the simple hard work, the ability to create breads, sweets & sandwiches that are unique, and the opportunity to be part of a community.
It is truly a pleasure to work with my young, skilled, and fun crew – my bakers (who start the breads & sweets at 4 am!!), my kneaders, my “fast & furious” sandwich makers & my cheerful customer service staff. The aroma of fresh-baked bread fills the bakery every morning, and I love being able to hand a warm slice to my customers. I sincerely believe that our wholegrain breads not only taste spectacular, but are also a healthy way to promote long-term health.
I’ve spent 32 years in the Great Harvest bakery biz, and had the pleasure of watching my three daughters work in the bakeries during high school and college. I co-owned & operated the Redmond Great Harvest for 17 years, then spent 8 years running between Redmond & the new Factoria bakery which opened in 1997. For the past 7 years, I’ve devoted all my time & energy to my little Factoria whirlwind of a bakery. And I’m still loving it.
Thank you for your support, ideas, and friendship.