Inside Business: Bread Poets | VideoJim Christianson | 3/12/2013
"Our production has been increasing ever since 1998. The last five years especially as we got into Dan`s," he said.
Still, about 60 percent of his sales come directly from the downtown bakery. Lee says he likes having the close customer contact, and didn`t want to change locations. So he decided to expand the building, adding 1,200 square feet of much-needed space.
"It keeps both sides cooler, we have a lot more room to work and room to add existing equipment as we go along."
But what he`s not adding are high-tech industry ideas. Instead, he and his 14 employees are sticking with tried and true methods, including grinding their own locally-grown flour and baking all their products from scratch. Lee says in spite of all the technological advances in the baking industry, he prefers to make bread the old fashioned way. Mixing up the flour; putting the loaf in the oven.
"We started out wanting to go back to the basics, how breads were made in the old days. New technology, we`ve shunned. We`ve even shunned square pans and square loaves. We form everything into oblong loaves."
And those oblong loaves are flying out of the ovens and into customer`s kitchens. In addition to hot fresh bread, Bread Poets offers cookies and scones, and specialty items such as dinner buns. Bread Poets bakes more than 30 varieties of bread, including Irish Soda Bread, Pesto Tomato Hearth, and Southern Cheddar Cornbread. The Cinnamon Logs are the most popular followed closely by the Poet`s Wheat Bread. Lee says his personal favorite changes every few years, but right now, he`s a big fan of the Maah-Daah-Hey Trail bread.
Lee had opened Sonnets, a sandwich shop using Bread Poets bread. He recently closed those locations, but says he`d like to consider the possibility of offering sandwiches at the downtown location sometime in the future.