At Great Harvest, soup, sandwiches and coffee are available for takeout or consumption on the premises, alongside complimentary wireless high speed Internet and free slices of bread available to anyone coming through the doors.
“We were first introduced to Great Harvest in Montana, and we quickly fell in love with the phenomenal fresh taste of their whole grain bread,” says Kellie Hartman, of the couple’s introduction to the bakery and its range of gourmet breads (as well as scones, cookies and sweets), including Honey Whole Wheat, Harvest Wheat, Nine Grain, Mediterranean Olive, Cinnamon Chip, Dakota, Cheddar Garlic, Cracked Peppercorn, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Batter Bread, and Apple Crunch loaves. “The chance to operate a ‘mom and pop’-style business in the town that Kevin and I grew up is so exciting to us.”
The Hartmans, whose children range in age from 1 to 18 years old, were soon visiting the Great Harvest bakery in Grand Junction, says Kevin Hartman. “I was looking for something new to do,” he says, “and my wife said, ‘Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you love.’
“‘Well, I love this bread,’” he told her, “and we started researching this company.”
The Dillon, Mont.-based Great Harvest company, now in its fourth decade of business, was recently ranked “43 out of 50 selected companies” as “an outstanding place to work,” according to its website. Its made-from-scratch whole-grain breads are a source of complex carbohydrates, with no added fat or cholesterol. The made-from-scratch whole-grain breads offer an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, as well, with no added fat or cholesterol. Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture health guidelines encourage Americans to eat three servings of whole grains every day, as part of the national battle against obesity and attendant health problems.
Great Harvest owners are trained to educate their customers about the benefits of whole grains, and to work to enhance their community, as well, offering bakery tours, hosting “slicing events” at area functions, and making regular bread donations to local charities – which, for the Hartmans, include the Sharing Ministries Food Bank, Christ’s Kitchen, and A Promise (a home for at-risk young mothers).
“We want to show appreciation to the community and reward the hard work of our neighbors with delicious baked goods made from scratch and with genuine care,” says Kellie Hartman. “I want people to feel comfortable about coming in, grabbing a free slice of bread, and saying hello,” she adds. “The chance to operate a ‘mom and pop’-style business in the town that Kevin and I grew up is so exciting to us.”
All customers are offered a slice of freshly baked bread, part of the Great Harvest’s motto of “being generous to others and having fun in business.”
Located in the Missouri building on main street, the interior is designed to be warm and bright, evoking the historic building’s origins with exposed brick and metallic accents, a stamped tin ceiling and a newly discovered 15 foot-tall pillar (concealed by the original brick).
“We know the current economic turmoil is taking its toll on many people, but we felt that this was the best time to bring comfort food to people,” says Kevin Hartman, who most recently worked at a welding supply outlet. “Great Harvest is all about making the best-tasting products from scratch every day in a fun-loving atmosphere with generous people. Fresh-baked bread is something everyone enjoys, and it is a perfect match for our health-conscious and informed customer base.
Every day, employees mill Great Harvest-selected Montana wheat berries into whole-wheat flour, baking them into fresh breads (as well as scones, cookies and other sweets) from all-natural ingredients, using natural sweeteners (mostly honey).“Great Harvest has created one of the most direct pipelines from farm to table found in American commerce,” says Kevin Hartman. “I’m excited about the diverse range of whole grain products each packed with nutritional benefits and plenty of flavor,” he adds. “And I’m even more excited about being the neighborhood bakery that provides heartfelt service and genuine hospitality to our community.”
Hours are 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday.