It all began way back in the seventies. Our founders, Pete and Laura Wakeman, were just a couple of college kids who baked amazing scratch-made whole grain bread to help pay their tuition at Cornell University. Newly married in 1975, the adventurous couple hiked the entire north-south length of Montana, falling in love with "Big Sky Country." So much so that they never left, establishing the first Great Harvest bakery in Great Falls, Montana in 1976.
Word spread fast about their uniquely flavorful bread made with pure and simple ingredients and wheat purchased from local farmers. It didn't take long before neighbors asked about starting up their own Great Harvest. In 1978, the Freedom Franchise was born and the second Great Harvest bakery opened in Kalispell, Montana.
We believe our success comes from a strong commitment to uphold the legacy and integrity of the Great Harvest brand. Great Harvest is about customer experience and the promise of phenomenal tasting food made with freshly-milled whole grains and pure and simple ingredients.
The aroma of our fresh baked bread draws people in for a free slice. We "have them" at the first whiff, but when they taste the difference, they are believers. We make our bread from scratch every day using carefully selected wheat grown in Montana's Golden Triangle. The wheat is freshly milled in each bakery for superior flavor and nutrition. Every loaf is made with simple ingredients in tempting combinations of flavors and textures. We bake bread the slow way, without shortcuts, so it will taste better than any other.
If you look at most franchises, they began when some smart person figured out a way to make some money by writing a recipe down and inviting others to copy it. The great thing about these sorts of franchises is that they aren't very risky for the person joining the franchise. The business is, after all, proven.
Most franchises of this variety require owners to do things the franchise’s way, with little or no variation. Cookie cutter-style. That's because the franchisor is trying to build a national brand, the foundation of which is consistency. The problem with this sort of franchise, if you're an entrepreneur-type, is that they aren't very much fun.
At the other end of the spectrum is starting up and running your own independent startup. There you have all the freedom in the world to create this thing just the way you want, but you're flying solo, with no one else to lean on. That's why so many start-ups fail.
We provide an alternative with some of the advantages of a traditional franchise and some of the fun of a "let's-do-it-all-ourselves" start-up. Our philosophy is simple: let's create unique neighborhood bakery cafes that are a reflection of the Great Harvest brand and the bakery cafe owner. We are no cookie cutter franchise. We are a freedom-based, healthy franchise that encourages excellence and individuality (not to mention a spirit of fun and generosity).
Own Multiple Stores with Us
Invest with Great Harvest and gain access to desirable territories and a beloved brand. Build a network of thriving bakery cafe businesses that are both profitable and meaningful with our cost-effective multi-store Hub & Spoke model.
Own a Bakery Cafe
You can own a Great Harvest bakery cafe! Join our friendly network of 200+ independently owned stores. Enjoy the support of a nationally respected brand with a 38-year history of growth while you call the shots.
Take Your Stores International
Interested in international franchising opportunities? Our flexible, community-centric business model is a perfect fit for international development. Be the first to bring our exceptionally fresh products to your country!