“This bakery would have not happened if Northern Initiatives didn’t exist. I went to every bank and it was the same story: nice plan, but we’re not giving out any money. One bank turned me on to Northern Initiatives and they were happy with the business plan. They helped us secure a loan for the building and equipment.” – Andrew Brand, Bake Superior Bread
Andrew Brand’s “back-burner dream” of owning a bakery is now a reality. Customer appreciation has risen much like the breads he bakes in his steam-injected French oven. Brand has several years’ experience as an executive chef, pastry chef and artisan baker. He became uncomfortable with the ingredients some establishments used, from dough conditioners and artificial sweeteners to flour additives and hydrogenated oils. Determined to provide customers with the most nutritious ingredients possible—the same approach he uses to feed his family—he opened Bake Superior Bread in Ironwood.
“There are ingredients that help make the bread-making process more fail-safe, but they can be harmful,” Brand said. “When you’re working with more traditional ingredients, it’s more of a challenge, but well worth it. People in this area were literally hungry for healthier baked goods. A lot of them personally thank me for bringing this to the area and giving them the option to choose something better. There’s nothing else like this available within 50 miles and the response has been astounding.”
The small downtown building was a retail electronics store for the past 40 years. Brand said some of Ironwood’s older residents remember that it housed a bakery for 30 years prior to that and seem to appreciate the fact it has come full circle.
Bake Superior Bread offers a variety of European-style artisan breads and pastries, along with traditional bagels and an array of spreads. Pizza by the slice is available for the lunch crowd and Brand said the menu will likely expand to include sandwiches.
The breads are made by the sourdough method, which uses little to no added commercial yeast. This creates a rich flavor and makes many of the products 100 percent fat free. Brand also uses quality ingredients such as Michigan berries and Wisconsin cheese—appropriate for a business near the border that draws customers from both states. He has discovered all of the distribution avenues for bread, selling to restaurants and grocery stores beyond his own retail space.
Brand is the manager and baker. His wife, Rachel, is the pastry chef and also handles retail sales, customer relations and bookkeeping. Both have benefited from the support of Northern Initiatives.
“This bakery would have not happened if Northern Initiatives didn’t exist,” Brand said. “I went to every bank and it was the same story: nice plan, but we’re not giving out any money. One bank turned me on to Northern Initiatives and they were happy with the business plan. They helped us secure a loan for the building and equipment.”
Northern Initiatives also has provided marketing advice, website services and guidance for Rachel on QuickBooks.
Bake Superior Bread Impacts