Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Emory Great Harvest Bread Co. is Now ...Toast

Great Harvest Bread Co., in the BriarVista Shopping Center at Briarcliff and LaVista Roads, has (abruptly) closed. The bakery's last day was Saturday January 15th with an email to patrons thanking them for their business this past Monday. Established in 1975 in Great Falls Montana, Great Harvest Bread Co. is now headquartered in Dillon, Montana, and has over 200 locations across the country. The intown location, near Emory opened in January, 2006 and just completed its fifth year in business. A big fan of the breads, my family ordered their challah regularly every Friday. I think that had the franchisee marketed {more}, he could have fared better. (I'm told he took a "if you build it, they will come" approach.)

Great Harvest has four other locations in Georgia: Johns Creek, Marietta, Smyrna and Rome, but none as convenient for those ITP as this now closed location. The OTP locations are all larger, and offer a wider variety of hot and cold beverages as well as a wider selection of breads and a number of sandwiches. I feel that while the shuttered location was on the small side, about 2000 s/f, had the franchisee emphasized on off-premise items like ready made sandwiches and a wider bread selection, he might still be in business.

Whole Foods is located across the street and Starbucks in the same shopping center, so it was an uphill battle for independently owned Great Harvest. Not even a mile away, there is another Starbucks and a Panera Bread at Loehmann's Plaza. Unlike Panera Bread, where sales are almost 75% from items other than bread, most Great Harvest locations derive a significant portion of their sales from breads.

Great Harvest had great employed a relatively young staff, but I was always impressed with how personable and upbeat they were on my many visits. Fresh bread was always available to sample, and this location featured a frequent buyer card for bread loaves to encourage repeat business. This location's Yelp rating reflected their stellar service: they had a perfect 5 star rating, a rare feat.

Unlike the moron reopening EVOS in midtown, I think the right person, with the vision and means to see it through, could reopen this location and see success. Each of the other local Great Harvest locations are independently owned, and while I'm told that attempts were made to have one of them take over the lease, they all seem to have their hands full with their own respective existing locations.

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Anonymous said...

Great Harvest has the best bread! I work by the Johns Creek location and the staff there is just as awesome. I am sad the in town location is closed.

Carl said...

I wonder if the huge growth in everything gluten-free hurt them. To my knowledge, GH really doesn’t have anything to offer this huge consumer base, which is particularly strong in areas like this location.

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Carl,

I'm not 100% but I think they did offer at least a couple gluten free options.