GOLDEN, Colo. -- It's been a long strange trip for the owners of Grateful Bread as they try to navigate business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When stay-at-home orders went into effect back in March, the bakery saw wholesale orders drop off overnight. The bakery immediately shifted its focus and ramped up sales to the general public utilizing a small to retail space at their Golden headquarters.
"The demand kept getting bigger and bigger. Since the pandemic, I think we’ve almost doubled the retail," said Jeff Cleary, an owner who is so passionate about his bread that he ordered a massive oven from Italy to churn out perfect loafs.
Every Saturday morning "breadheads" line up for the chance to buy Cleary's specialties, like sourdough, croissants and a variety of pastries. The retail store opens at 10 a.m., but Cleary says people are often show up two hours early to pull a ticket that will reserve their spot. The bakery uses a deli-style system with numbers to promote social distancing. Customers can wait in their cars until their number is called.
"The feedback has been great and the loyalty has been awesome," said Cleary. "We feel very fortunate.”
As months went by and restaurants opened back up, some of those wholesale orders are picking up again. But the demand for retail sales isn't slowing down. Grateful Bread recently served more than 300 customers is one morning, a new record.
"So the retail is actually what’s keeping things going, especially in the beginning. So that’s been our savior," said Cleary.
You can find the retail store at Grateful Bread's headquarters, located at 425 Violet Street in Golden. Doors open at 10 a.m. but take our advice and get in line early. More information about the retail store and weekly specials can be found here.