Let’s play the “you know a bakery is fresh when…” game. I’ll go first. “You know a bakery is fresh when….you see the dough being made in the kitchen.” Your turn. OK, mine again, “You know a bakery is fresh when you can smell the bread baking a few blocks away.” All of the things I described above are characteristics of Pearl Bakery that is one of our newest partners at Portland Pedal Power (PPP)!
On the verge of becoming hangry and cold (a combination for me that has proven volatile), I stopped in to Pearl Bakery and was tempted to buy every pastry in sight along with a giant cup of hot cocoa. You really can do no wrong here. Instead, I ordered a hummus sandwich with spinach, carrots, and feta along with a giant cup of coffee. Hanger subsided, vision cleared, and hands warmed. I could have stayed here forever.
I interviewed John Woosley, Sales Manager at Pearl Bakery, who was kind enough to respond to my myriad of questions:
Please read on…
What is your favorite item on your menu?
It changes all the time, but most recently it’s a simple Baguette, sliced and dipped in good olive oil. Other favorites are Multigrain Boule, thinly sliced with nothing but Muenster cheese, and Big Soft Ciabatta Roll, toasted, buttered, with cinnamon sugar… I like it simple.[writer’s note: As mentioned above, I loved my hummus sandwich. I also have plans to purchase one of their famous almond croissants (they were out the day I went)]
What prompted you to offer bicycle delivery to your customers?
Frankly we have been dreaming for years of having our own bicycle for larger deliveries! This is probably a long time off, however, so I’m glad the service exists, with headquarters so close by.[writer’s note: you can make your order now by clicking here]
What are some of your business challenges and how does bicycle delivery help you address these?
The big challenge is always time based: we start our breads and pastries with pre-mixes, a couple days before the final product is baked. This traditional method yields by far the best flavors. But it does make it hard to accommodate businesses and other customers who may be planning a large event on shorter notice. PPP’s online service is automated, so customers can order near the deadline, and the delivery is arranged. In a nutshell: it’s easier on the customer.
What are some ways your business benefits from PPP’s services?
We are able to reach a lot of customers that might not otherwise be able to come down to the bakery to transport an order for their own event. It has the potential to streamline orders of certain items, like pastries, that could otherwise require juggling a lot of paperwork.
What does your day-to-day look like as the sales manager of Pearl Bakery?
Busy! I manage the relationships with around 80 wholesale accounts. On any given day, I can be found adjusting numbers for future days’ production to accommodate special events, parties, closures, etc. I monitor our retail floor as well, to make sure things are running smoothly.
How long have you been working at Pearl Bakery?
Well, I started at Pearl Bakery in 2003, as a retail counter person and part-time wholesale driver. I’ve worked into my current role slowly, keeping a customer service focus. I’ve been running the Pearl office since last summer.
How did you arrive in the world of food?
I started waiting tables in Chicago in 1993, and tried my hand at everything from formal Italian dining, to casual Southern fare, to counter-culture Bohemian art café. I learned how to connect with a great variety of people, on their own personal level.
What important accomplishments do you look forward to in the next 12 months?
We are always looking for ways to grow and improve, I hope we are able to increase our capacity to bake more fresh breads and pastries each morning.
Thanks John! We hope to grow and improve with you.