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Great Harvest Bread Co. to Open in Stillwater

Natasha and Bob Fleischman—the Lake Elmo couple who also own Great Harvest Bread Company in Woodbury—hope to open up shop across from Cub Foods and next door to Certified Transmission in Stillwater.

Great Harvest Bread Co. will open a bakery in Stillwater early next year.

The announcement came over the weekend via a Facebook post:

“Now that the cement is laid and the interior walls are up, it is time to get some excitement,” the Facebook status update reads. “We're scheduled to open in January, 2013!”

Natasha and Bob Fleischman—the Lake Elmo couple who also own Great Harvest Bread Company in Woodbury—hope to open up shop across from Cub Foods and next door to Certified Transmission in mid-January.

Stillwater Patch caught up with the Fleischman’s to ask a few questions. Read their answers to learn a bit more about Great Harvest Stillwater.

What brought you to Stillwater?

We have lived in Lake Elmo for the last 11 years, our kids go to school in Stillwater, have played sports here, and our lives are centered on Stillwater and the St Croix Valley communities. We love the small-town feel and the fact that everyone knows everyone. It’s the perfect place for our family-owned bakery.

What is most exciting about opening this new store?

The ability to live and work in the same neighborhood. We can’t wait to serve our breads to our friends and neighbors. We will be moving all of our baking capabilities from our Woodbury bakery to Stillwater, and we really look forward to being part of this community as business members as well.

What does Great Harvest offer?

We specialize in whole-grain, hand-crafted breads. We actually grind our wheat and produce all of our whole-grain flour right in the bakery. That way we can ensure the best possible taste, freshness and nutrition. And everything is baked fresh that day. No frozen dough, no added chemicals or preservatives – ever. For breakfasters and early morning people, we will have freshly baked scones, muffins, cookies and sweet breads—all out of the oven before we open—as well as a full coffee service featuring locally roasted fair trade coffee. For the lunch crowd, we will be crafting grilled sandwiches using great ingredients, and of course, our own breads. For the gluten-free customers, we also make a gluten-free bread that is fabulous. Finally, we carry a variety of hand-made mixes (pancake, cookie, granolas, etc.) as well as an assortment of honeys, jams and things that go great with our breads.

When are you hoping to open?

We are currently in the midst of the build-out process and hope to be open by the middle of January.

What are some of your community ties?

As I mentioned above, we have lived in the area for 11 years. Natasha is a two-term school board member, and she has been very active in the school PTOs. Natasha has also been actively involved with the Partnership Plan raising money for the area schools, and this year, Natasha was the chair for the Music Department’s biggest fundraiser, the Rummage Sale. We have also been supporters of Valley Outreach, donating our breads each week to the local food shelf.

Anything else you’d like to say?

This is a second career for both of us. Three years ago, Bob left his career in marketing for large financial institutions and absolutely loves the day-to-day challenges of running a local bakery. It’s a genuine pleasure to get to know our customers on a first-name basis and chat about the day’s issues. We love the stories our customers tell us about their families and lives, and we’re honored that people feel comfortable enough to share their lives with us. It’s amazing how our effort to provide real food also helps build real community. We couldn’t do that as part of a large corporation. And as a small business, we also get to support other small businesses, from the contractors we’re using to build out the bakery, to the products we offer on our shelves. Our motto at our Woodbury bakery has been “Baking a Difference in Woodbury” and now we get to add “Baking a Difference in Stillwater,” as well. It feels good because this area is our home.

Randy Marsh November 26, 2012 at 11:26 PM
I think we'd all like to know how many employees you will be laying off because of the PPACA? In all seriousness, best wishes. I hope your stuff is as good as you claim because finding good bread in this town is much harder than it should be.
Susan November 26, 2012 at 11:57 PM
I can't wait to try the gluten free bread!!!! It would be fabulous if you could expand the gluten free beyond bread. Best of luck!
Natasha Fleischman November 27, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Randy, we're not laying off any employees-- in fact we plan to hire before January. We bought this bakery because we truly believe that you can't buy better bread anywhere. If you want to try it yourself, stop by our Woodbury store in the SW corner of Tamarack Village. Everyone who walks through the door gets a free slice of bread, hot from the oven if you're in before noon!
Natasha Fleischman November 27, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Susan, if the demand is great enough, we'd love to expand our gluten friendly beyond our once a week bread. Due to the nature of providing fresh products, we need to sell out nearly every bake in order to stay in business! But we have other recipes ready if it looks like they'll be popular enough!
Susan November 27, 2012 at 03:20 AM
That sounds great. Depending on the recipe and size of the batch you need to make, I might be interested in doing some ordering, if you would consider it. I might have to make a trip down to Woodbury to check you out. What day of the week do you bake the gluten free bread?
Tim Caspers November 27, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Will you provide wireless Internet access? Tim
Mary November 27, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Look forward to trying your breads ... and hope they are affordable. Love whole grain breads but they can be very pricey.
Edward November 27, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Excellent bread and coffee and VERY friendly people at this bakery. Thumbs up! This is good news for Stillwater.
Carbon Bigfuut November 27, 2012 at 03:33 PM
Randy, the co-op downtown has some great breads. We love the multigrain pan loaf from "New French Bakery" for toast, sandwiches, just about anything. Natasha, will you be selling any of your breads through the co-op?
Natasha Fleischman November 27, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Thanks for all the comments! Gluten friendly (we use this term because of the risk of cross contamination in our bakery and don't recommend it for celiacs) is baked on Wednesdays. Yes, there will be wireless Internet-- we'd love to have you consider us a hang out! We sell half loaves of bread as well to help the affordability issue. Frankly, using natural ingredients is expensive. High fructose corn syrup is much cheaper than honey, but we would never put it in our breads to bring costs down. Thanks for the compliment, Edward! The co-op currently carries Great Harvest breads from the bakery in Minneapolis, but I know they have an interest in getting them locally.
Jon Skaalen November 27, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I, too, look forward to having a Great Harvest within walking or biking distance, having patronized all the other Great Harvests. A friend from Wisconsin drives here to get your caramel rolls. I've been enjoying the breads in Bayport and at River Market but will have to walk even more to work off the new Great Harvest treats.... As I recall, Great Harvests are great community assets and contributors, too. Jon Skaalen, Stillwater
Susan November 27, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Thanks, Natasha. It's good that you point out the cross contamination as I know it is VERY important to some with Celiac. Fortunately I am not sensitive and have never had a cross contamination issue, so I will still be trying your bread...and hopefully more, if you get the demand.
Tricia Wood November 28, 2012 at 04:25 AM
But keeping Woodbury too, right?
Shawn Hogendorf November 28, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Yes, Tricia. They are expanding.
Peggy Sue November 28, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I love the feeling of the Selby Great Harvest and the Linden Hills one. I have been to the Woodbury one only once and won't go back. The people were not warm and welcoming like the other two stores and the atmosphere of the space was not anywhere that I would ever care to go again. Generic and cold. I hope the Stillwater store will be warm and friendly. I guess the difference with the Linden Hills location and the Selby one is that they're not in the "strip mall" category. Sounds like the Stillwater location will be in the "strip mall" category. Since Stillwater is lacking a bakery, the strip mall may be ok to stop in and grab a loaf of bread but not anywhere I would choose to sit and have a cup of coffee. If the co-op will have your bread, I would be more likely to buy it there. Frequenting a strip mall is just not my "thing." Good luck to you though. Maybe you will do something to your store to distinguish itself from that strip mall feel.
Diane Lund November 30, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I referred someone to you that works for a bakery in Vadnais Hgts, but would LOVE to work in her hometown! She's been in the business 15+ years! Might be a perfect fit. How can I tell her to contact you?
Diane Lund November 30, 2012 at 03:08 PM
AND we look forward to you joining our active and growing Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce!
Irving November 30, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Will you have the chocolate chip cookies that are available in the Linden Hills store? Just when I thought my addiction was broken...
Shawn Smalley December 04, 2012 at 07:31 AM
I would love a good caraway rye! It's almost impossible to find and when you do it's rarely good or even edible. No matter what I am still really excited to have a bakery in town again! Please come and visit me down at the Pirate Bar!!

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