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‘Better’ Baked Bread Becomes a Business

May 6, 2010

Baking bread has been a family tradition for Alison Hill. A bread starter has been handed down in her family for over 150 years. It was this tradition that first inspired Hill to bake bread for family, friends and as gifts while she was in college.

With a desire for better nutrition and improved quality, Hill soon began experimenting with grinding her own whole grain flour. After several trials and restarts, she developed a method of grain processing using a stone mill that produced the desired quality while maintaining the nutritional benefits of whole grain.

Family and friends soon recognized the quality of the gifts they were receiving and urged Hill to sell her bread products at the Mason City Farmer’s Market. Rapid success soon allowed her to include the Algona Farmer’s Market as well. Success and acceptance in these markets caused Hill to realize that she could expand her baking into a full time business.

Thus was born the concept of Daily Bread Bakery.

Aware of the need for professional assistance to establish a viable business, Hill contacted Northwest Iowa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in Spencer. She was partnered with Kelly McCarty beginning in October 2007. Together they developed a business plan and pursued revolving loan funds and bank loans. Hill was successful in securing loans from the Iowa Department of Economic Development (Targeted Small Business Loan), City of Algona and the LIFT Loan program distributed through the State of Iowa Treasurer. She also worked with the John Papajohn Entrepreneurial Center in Mason City.

“The Northwest Iowa SBDC has been offering continued assistance in marketing, recordkeeping and general business management consulting,” commented McCarty.

And, Hill is happy with what McCarty has been able to do for her business.

“We have been working with the Northwest Iowa SBDC for almost three years,” Hill said.  “The assistance, advice and guidance provided have been a tremendous resource to Daily Bread Bakery.  The ongoing counseling has helped us overcome some obstacles in our business.  The Northwest Iowa SBDC has always responded when asked to provide assistance.”

While her initial endeavor was to prepare a frozen dough loaf to be prepared by the consumer at home, she needed to have a means of creating cash flow. Hill opened the Daily Bread Bakery, Inc., located at 815 N. Roan Street in Algona, and serves fresh sandwiches, soups and desserts daily. She is continuing to perfect the frozen dough concept.

Business expansion is also a priority. An oven that will bake 100 loaves at a time and larger equipment will allow service to more retail outlets. A facility in West Bend is open during the summer. Products are available in over 40 retail outlets ranging from Des Moines to Minneapolis. They deliver to each business twice weekly.

All foods are started from scratch and use 100 percent organic products. The entire process including processing oils, cleaners, grains and all ingredients are organic. They work with the Iowa Department of Agriculture Land Stewards to maintain organic certification. Purchasing is from Iowa companies whenever possible.

“My husband and employees are important in the success of our business. We prayed for God to send us the right people,” Hill reflected.

Each product label contains reference to the bible verse Deut. 8:3, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by the word of God.”

Hill noted, “This is very important to our family.” 

Hill continues to develop formulas for new products. Currently they market 14 varieties of breads plus rolls and croutons. She is refining the recipes for breads designed specifically for the different nutritional needs of men and women.

Information about Daily Bread Bakery is available at www.thedailybreadbakery.com.

Hill is a graduate of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at Iowa State University with an emphasis in Child Development and Health Studies.

Alison Hill, owner of Golden Ground, Inc., in the eating area of the Daily Bread Bakery
Alison Hill, owner of Golden Ground, Inc., in the eating area of the Daily Bread Bakery

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