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July 20, 2004 > The House of Bread

The House of Bread

Where Good Taste Comes Naturally

After thirty years in the High Tech industry, Dan Clark needed a change. He and his wife, Kristin, wanted to run their own business. A franchise with the House of Bread was selected because it was an "interesting business" and the company was pledged to provide good taste using healthy, natural products and "give something back to the community." Although Dan felt his background in management had prepared him for small business life, he admits that there is a big difference. As a corporate manager he had the help of many support services, but in his new life, he says, "I have to wear all the hats - personnel, finance, vendor management, etc." Wearing a myriad of "hats" wasn't all that Dan and Kristin Clark would face trying to open their own business.

A wayward oven and another that proved to be less than advertised began a saga that would test their patience. Their adventure began with high hopes and determination which proved necessary from the very beginning to survive the "missing, stolen, broken oven saga." As Dan and Kristin prepared to open their new business, they patiently waited for a used commercial baking oven a broker had located in Arizona.

The oven was loaded on a truck by a crew hired to install it in the Fremont store. As days passed without delivery, a search proved fruitless. The oven and crew had disappeared from sight (a new Bermuda Triangle?) and were never found! The store's opening, scheduled for July 19th had to be postponed. The Clarks ordered another oven from Ohio. This one did arrive, but the bottom half was rusted and unusable. Three weeks later, parts arrived to repair the oven and it was finally installed. With perseverance, the smell of freshly baked bread filled the Hub Shopping Center air on September 23, 2003 as the House of Bread opened for business.

Kristin says that she has fond memories of her mother making homemade bread. "I liked the concept of a bakery that made good bread and felt there was a need in Fremont for this type of business." Joining a small, yet growing franchise was attractive, providing a lot of support helping to ensure success. "The corporate structure is very supportive," says Dan. "They have excellent documentation and procedures in place." Dan and Kristin were trained by House of Bread at their Home Office in San Luis Obispo. Before granting a franchise, employees at the home office bakery were asked to evaluate and approve the pair as employers, bakers and managers. Dan traveled to the Home Office on four different occasions, to bake in their kitchens. Corporate personnel visit the Fremont location to help and train as well.

"The attraction of a small business is being able to work 'one-on-one' with customers and vendors," says Kristin. Although still employed as a software engineer, she works evenings wearing the "marketing hat" for the business and filling in on her "days off." Dan says that he has two different staffs, the bakers who begin their shift in the early hours of the morning and retail staff who start their day later on. His workdays often include all shifts since, "I have to be visible often enough to get feedback of how things are going."

Fremont House of Bread daily offerings include freshly baked breads, other baked goodies (muffins, cookies, brownies, cinnamon rolls, bread pudding, etc.) and soups, salads and sandwiches. To ensure a maximum of nutritional value, the wheat flour is milled on site every day! Milled white flour comes from the same source in Montana and is free of chemicals and preservatives. Kristin adds, "Our white bread is actually healthier than many grocery store wheat breads because of the quality of flour we use and the purity of the ingredients." The Clarks emphasize that everything served at the House of Bread is fresh and nutritious. "We provide a healthy alternative for anyone looking for a unique and interesting lunch spot."

The variety of breads is amazing; close to 30 varieties plus a dozen or so seasonal breads, not counting muffins, cookies, rolls and scones. The plethora of delicious offerings at House of Bread range from 9-grain bread, focaccia, Darwin, Dakota, Cinnamon Swirl, Bread Pudding, French, Garlic Cheddar White, Sourdough, Jalapeno Jack, Texas Corn Bread, Dinner Rolls, Pizza Dough ... on and on! For low carb folks, there are breads here to fit your style too. Bakers are often known as miracle workers with dough and House of Bread lives up to such expectations. House of Bread can easily become a habit. But, even with daily trips, have no fear of running out of new things to try. Innovative combinations of ingredients at the House of Bread can excite even the fussiest taste buds. Dan exclaims that the shop covers the range of breads for any occasion - dinner, sandwich and dessert.

Special orders are welcome including a choice of add-in ingredients and shapes and sizes. For parties and occasions that require something extra, consider a gift basket of breads, spreads, dipping oils and sauces. House of Bread will even bake a cake on special order. Whatever you need, House of Bread personnel are ready to create a unique and tasty result.

Although House of Bread is an open facility where equipment and baking are easily viewed by the public, two "behind-the-scenes" tours are available for children. A 45 minute "Look and Learn Tour" is free to school groups and follows the bread making process from grinding wheat kernels to shaping and baking (samples are included, of course). "Breaducation" is a tour that is available to groups (maximum size 15). This activity, available at minimal cost, introduces "junior bakers" to an hour and a half of "hands on" shaping and baking their own loaf of bread. A new offering is a Birthday Party option that allows kids to come in and make their own pizzas.

Whatever the reason - lunch, take home, special orders - a visit to House of Bread is guaranteed to please. Try samples of breads baked that day and experience one of the staples of life at its best...pure, fresh and delicious!

House of Bread
39149 Fremont HUB, Fremont
(Next to Cold Stone Creamery)
(510) 745-8815

Monday - Saturday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sunday 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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