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Jeff Cleary of Grateful Bread: “Quality Before Profit”
Jeff Cleary is the founder and head baker at Grateful Bread, a Denver-based bakery that makes all their products by hand.
Cleary has been in the food industry almost his whole life, beginning as a dishwasher and prep cook at age 13. He then started his own bakery and catering company at sixteen in Minersville, Pennsylvania. He received his second culinary degree from Johnson & Whales University in Rhode Island before owning several restaurants and the eventual founding of Grateful Bread.
Grateful Bread got its start in 2005 after an economic downturn when Cleary and his wife, Kathy Mullen, were forced to sell their restaurant. After that, Cleary started Grateful Bread, doing all the baking and business dealings on his own.
“The bakery allowed me to return to my first love, baking artisan breads,” Cleary said. “With one wooden table, one small mixer and a small battered electric oven, I set up in a rustic 400 square foot cabin in Evergreen.”
By 2008, Grateful Bread was able to move into a larger space in Golden and have expanded twice since then. They now boast 30 employees and deliver their fresh baked goods to a number of restaurants and hotels in Denver.
Lately, the labor shortage has been heavily impacting Grateful Bread, as all their products are made by hand and require skilled workers. With inflation, the cost of their premium ingredients has gone up, however they pride themselves on the quality of their products and are committed to not cutting corners when it comes to what they put in their baked goods.
“Our focus is on quality before profit, yet we’ve managed to build a successful business without compromising our core values or our integrity,” said Cleary.
Grateful Bread is committed to fresh, natural, and locally sourced ingredients, staying true to their authentic artisan breads and pastries. They try to support local Colorado food producers as much as possible, like sourcing their honey from a three-generations-old family of Colorado beekeepers.
Cleary is proud of the way Grateful Bread has handled the pandemic, especially as the restaurant and food industries have taken one of the hardest hits. He says at the end of the day, making sure everyone is content is the goal.
“We have happy customers and happy employees, so that’s the bottom line for us. We have a culture at Grateful Bread that recognizes and rewards hard work.”
Learn more about Grateful Bread by visiting their website at: https://gratefulbread.com/index.html
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