Healthy bakery rises to the occasion

- Photo by Rachael Palinkas/ Photo editor

Joelle Cheek

The smell of freshly baked bread wafting over campus draws students to a new company in town that offers delicious bread and opportunities for work.

Great Harvest Bread Company opened to the public May 2. Owners Bill and Nancy Cunningham, native Oregonians, have been bread heads for a long time, Bill said.

The breads, scones and other baked goods are made with 100 percent whole grains milled in the store with a stone mill from Denmark. They get the wheat berries from Montana, where the weather allows the wheat to thrive.

The tag team couple wants customers to understand the health benefits of eating their products.

“You don’t have to refrigerate our bread because there are no preservatives,” Bill said. “It usually lasts 7
to 10 days.”

The bread is made daily from scratch with a different type made each day. 

Because the business is located on the corner of Baker Street and Linfield Avenue, which is less than a five-minute walk from campus, it attracts students.

Sophomore Jamie Mertz and junior Keegan McEachern see Great Harvest as a work opportunity, and they are leaving an impression on the owners.

“An hour after showing Keegan how to knead the dough, he was kneading two balls of dough at once,” Bill said. “I was amazed.”

Not only have the owners chosen skilled employees, they have created a company that welcomes customers with a smile.

“The atmosphere seems to fit my personality really well,” Mertz said. “It’s casual, but on top of things, and the bread is outstanding.”

Bill and Nancy have made an impact on the students as well.

“They are very kind, excited people with a great sense of humor,” McEachern said.

Mertz, a long-time fan of the 30-year company, first became a bread head because a childhood friend’s parents own a Portland branch. When she heard there would be a McMinnville location, she e-mailed and called the owners for an interview.

“At first I was nervous, but (Nancy and Bill) make you feel so comfortable; I couldn’t work for two better individuals,” Mertz said. “The combination of the two is unbeatable.”

The owners strive to establish relationships with their customers by offering free slices of bread, no
strings attached.

Many other products are sold to accompany the bread, which include bread warmers, pancake mix, granola and dry soup mixes, all of which are healthy and wholesome, Bill said.

“We would rather establish the relationships,” Bill said. “Come on in and say hi.”

Great Harvest Bread Company is open 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and Saturday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

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