Fleischmans to open local Great Harvest store
When it comes to bread, it’s personal for the Fleischman family. They’re about to open the new Great Harvest Bread Co. bakery on Curve Crest Boulevard across from the Stillwater Marketplace on Friday.
Bob and Natasha Fleischman have been in the bakery business for about three years and they’re excited to expand their business to Stillwater. The new store is closer to where the Lake Elmo couple’s lives are centered, with teenagers in the school district, and Natasha serving on the school board.
“We do have a store in Woodbury. I was a corporate escapee and needed something to do and I found Great Harvest and started working with them,” Bob Fleischman said. “We’ve grown within our Woodbury store and we were looking for a store where we have most of our lives. We found it here in Stillwater.”
“We’re really excited to be in stillwater, and there are so many people that are excited we’re coming here too,” Natasha Fleischman added. “Even though we’re not open yet, we’ve had a ton of people stop in.”
The new bakery includes a cafe and espresso bar featuring coffee from local roasting company, River Moon Coffee. Whole grain flour is created in their on-site mill which guarantees that the bread is fresh.
“Our bakers will actually knead the bread and cook it here in front of people as they walk in,” Bob Fleischman said. “The bread will be made and baked and we want that interaction with the bakers and the customers.”
The bakery features nine handmade breads: seeded, unseeded and sweetened that can fit in a vegan diet and are helpful for people choosing to go gluten-free. The menu also features some scones and other sweet treats. Soup and sandwiches are also available for purchase. One item not on the menu is soda. Soda is replaced with sparkling juice and a hydration station that includes water infused with fresh fruits and vegetables.
As they get further along in the process, the Fleischmans will sell their cookie dough, whole wheat pizza dough and some River Moon roasted coffee beans. They hope to help other local businesses and people when they can.
“We’re teaming up with the PowerUP program and we’re planning on putting a variety of fresh things into our sandwiches, like fresh veggies and lean meats. We’re trying to teach people that they can get good food without going to fast food,” Bob Fleischman said.
Community and family is also at the heart of the Fleischman’s expanding venture. Their kids help out at the bakery, sometimes rising at 4:30 a.m. to help dad in the kitchen, while mom handles the customer service and management ends of the business.
The grand opening of the Stillwater Great Harvest Bread Co. location is Friday, since school is out that day and the Fleischmans need all hands on deck. According to Natasha Fleischman, it’s going to be a big baking day. She added that they hope that their new bakery becomes a community place where people can connect over lunch and a hot cup of coffee.
“We want to be that neighborhood bakery and get to know people, become familiar with them and show we care,” she said.
“Over the last three years (at Woodbury) with our customers who’ve become regulars, we get to share in their lives,” Bob Fleischman added. “We hear when their kids are getting married or graduate, we have parents and kids talk with us about upcoming events in their families and they tell us this and it’s very cool that they trust us enough to share that information.”
Their goal going forward: “We always want to serve our bread hot and treat our community to the best,” Natasha Fleischman added. “We take our bread personally, and we want everyone who comes in the door to realize that.”