Of the four original Great Harvest franchise owners, only Jacque Sanchez of Spokane is still in business.
Answering an advertisement in a Great Falls newspaper, Sanchez bought into Pete and Laura Wakeman’s concept in 1980 and set up a bakery in downtown Spokane.
“Honestly, there were times when I’d sit on Sprague for two hours and nobody came through the door,” Sanchez says. “I would never have guessed this would last 17 years.”
Now with a second store on the South Hill, Sanchez employs 35 people and generates $1.2 million in annual sales. The company bakes 450 loaves a day and sells bread products to 18 grocery stores, including Rosauers, Safeway, Tidymans and Yokes.
The Spokane Great Harvest stores also sell deli salads and sandwiches.
“We can’t survive on bread and cookies,” Sanchez says. “So I’ve added a little here, a little there.”
Sanchez says the Wakemans are the mom and pop of the chain, a pair of “survivalists” who still gasp if a franchise owner shows up in a new car.
“They don’t understand how you could spend money like that,” Sanchez says.
But the Wakeman’s disregard for excessive profit and their charity to the original store owners has helped Sanchez succeed. She pays a scant 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent royalty of sales to the parent company, compared with new Great Harvest franchises that must pay up to 7 percent.
“The business has grown so much that they are happy about it,” she says, “but, in a way, sad about it, too.”
Great Harvest Bread Co., Spokane
Downtown: 816 W. Sprague Ave. 624-9370. Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mon-Fri.; opening weekends this fall.
South Hill: 2530 E. 29th. 535-1146. Hours: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon-Sat., 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
, DataTimes MEMO: See related story under the headline: Great Harvest is going great