The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Seeking a new contract baker for a small bakery in VT

goodcompanionbakery's picture

Seeking a new contract baker for a small bakery in VT

Hi, my name's Erik Andrus and I own a small farm in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.  My family and I own a small bakery (Good Companion Bakery), located here on the farm that has become a solid presence in the local community since 2007.  I got the basics at the King Arthur Flour baking school under Jeff Hammelman and have made french classic hearth breads plus croissants and other pastries the mainstay of the business.

While I still maintain and manage the bakery and have no plans to sell, for the last 3 years the bulk of the baking has been done on a contractual arrangement based on a split of gross sales between labor and the house.  This has allowed for solid earnings and a lot of flexibility for both sides.  However as of this moment,  I don't yet have a baker to serve in this capacity going forward and so am planning on running bakes myself until such time as someone can be brought in.  Since opening the bakery I have also developed a lot of other time commitments and so I can't work full time at it any more, but at least I can maintain our presence at our most important markets, with a little help, as an interim solution.  I care a lot about the reputation we have built over the years and so I am willing to wait for a really good fit with the right individual before making any decision.

This situation offers real earning potential and the possibility of building a personal reputation in an area with strong markets for local and artisanal foods.  Currently we manage the bakery as a seasonal (March-Dec) undertaking but it has plenty of potential as a year-round shop too.  However it's likely that summer revenues will always outstrip winter. 

The bakery is 600 sf and has a 4x6 Allan Scott retained heat oven (built by us in 2007) and a double convection oven.  There is also an East Tyrol grain mill with an integrated bolter, and the farm on which the bakery is located has the ability to grow and process a fairly wide array of grains.  A company van is available for deliveries.  Various other devices and features, but those are the main ones.  It's a pretty efficient shop for 2-3 people to work in at once.

Our ideal candidate would be willing to develop a partnership with the farm to feature our own grains in the breads in distinctive ways.  At a minimum our baseline standards for quality of production, good relations with current markets and business partners, basic business practices, recordkeeping, and upkeep of the shop must be upheld.  In addition we are looking for someone who is really passionate about baking who will advance our bakery to the next level to our mutual benefit.  In the past we have given our contract baker total control over the day-to-day management of all aspects of production and marketing, though there are clear established patterns of successful past activity to build on making this a real turnkey situation.

Our farm and bakery is located just 1 mile outside Vergennes, Vermont which boasts its status as the smallest city in the union.  We welcome inquiries from interested bakers and would be happy to provide more detail about the above situation.  You can p.m. me through this forum and we can take the conversation from there.  Thanks for reading, and happy baking!