Surveying 13,000 sq. ft. of newly purchased and remodeled space, Grand Central Bakery Co-owner Ben Davis believes that his company has just stepped into the big leagues. The new location in Portland, Ore., will house all of Grand Central’s artisan bread production, its central offices and its sixth area café. Pastry will continue to be produced at a different location.
“The building is awesome,” said Piper Davis, co-owner. “They used to do some light manufacturing in it, and we were looking for a place that was industrial enough for the size bakery we need, but still have retail potential.” Nicknamed “Sawtooth” for its traditional warehouse ripsaw roofline, the building sits in an industrial preserve flanked by neighborhoods.
“Our previous location was about 4,000 sq. ft., including retail space. It was set up to bake 1,500 loaves a day at maximum, and we’ve been pushing the envelope on that for a long time,” Piper said. Once up to speed, she and her brother, Ben, expect to be comfortably producing 600 loaves per hour.
Going along with the new space will be new equipment, including two 12-door deck ovens and a new bread line. The line has a divider, 120-lb. hopper, a conical rounder, an intermediate proofer and an 18-ft.-long moulder.
“It has a lot of tools at our disposal for gentle dough-handling to get the products that we want,” Ben said of the moulder. “We are going to do it as well or better than we were able to do by hand.”
Considering the space and equipment, it might seem that the sky is the limit for production capacity. Instead of seeking more large wholesale accounts, though, Grand Central will stay focused on retailing the artisan breads and pastries that are their specialty.