I never imagined when I moved to Walton County with my family seventeen years ago, that one day I would be an owner of my own small business.
My husband and I moved to Loganville in 2000 with our two young sons. We loved the small town feel of Loganville, and with boys that would soon be school age, we wanted to be in a community with good schools. At that time, we did not know that we would decide to home school. My husband, Rob Kiser, opened a law practice, Kiser Law, and immediately became involved with the community.
As a charter member of the Loganville Rotary Club, a founding member of Legacy State Bank, a supporter of the Walton County Boys and Girls Club and as a member of the Walton County Water Authority Board, Rob loved being a part of this thriving and growing community.
Meanwhile, I was home schooling our seven children and active in local home school groups, like LIFE (Learning in the Family Environment) and Classical Conversations. In 2014, life changed dramatically. After a short illness, my husband passed away. It was a shock to all of us and, needless to say, turned our lives upside down.
I found myself with some tough decisions ahead of me. I am grateful that God never leaves us nor forsakes us as He has provided my children and me with a wonderful support system of family and friends that have been by our side and walked every bit of this difficult journey with us.
About 13 years ago, a new friend, who is now a dear friend, introduced me to the benefits of milling grain into flour and baking fresh bread from scratch. As I learned how to do this and started branching out into making other baked goods from the fresh ground grain, my passion and love for delicious homemade bread and other goodies grew. I started teaching others about the benefits of eating whole grains and how to bake whole grain bread from scratch.
As I considered my options, I decided that I wanted to take my love of whole grains and nutritious bread and start my own business. I’ve never owned my own business, so I wasn’t sure where to start. I decided to try baking some bread, cookies, muffins, and granola and selling it at the local Autumn Heritage Festival in Loganville to see what kind of response I would get. A good friend of mine, Traci Browne, offered to help me. It was a great day, and we got lots of compliments and encouragement from the community.
A few weeks later, I participated in another booth at a wellness fair at Hera’s Healthcare in Monroe. Another vendor at this fair tasted my bread and loved it. She asked if I had ever heard of Great Harvest Bread Company, a whole grain bakery in Johns Creek. I looked them up on-line that evening. They milled their grain fresh into flour in store and baked bread and other goodies with the whole grain flour every single day! Why had I not heard about this before?
I was especially touched by their mission statement: “Bake phenomenal bread. Run fast to serve others. Have fun. Give generously.” All four of these statements resonated with me. Baking phenomenal bread is a given. Whole grains and freshly made bread with no preservatives and artificial ingredients make for not only phenomenal bread but also delicious bread. The other 3 however, were what touched me, and I found myself crying at the computer. These are qualities my husband strove for and exhibited in his law practice. I had countless people come to me after the funeral and in the weeks following to tell me that Rob was not only their attorney but also their friend.
He genuinely loved people and ran fast to serve those around him. He was light hearted and happy and loved to have fun no matter what he was doing. Rob had a way of making people feel comfortable and helping to lighten up what was usually a heavy legal matter. Lastly, Rob was incredibly generous. He gave freely of his time and his resources. It was not unusual for him to stay after hours for a client or to go out of his way to help someone in trouble. He also offered free wills to our local police department and the local church where our Classical Conversations group met. I realized that night that this company could help me realize my dream of being a small business owner. Being a franchise, they had all the systems in place and could train me. The company’s values matched up perfectly with mine. Most importantly, however, I could continue my husband’s legacy of running a business that positively impacts others by providing superior customer service and giving generously to the community.
I knew this endeavor would be too much to handle on my own so I prayed for a partner. That is where my friend, Traci Browne, and her husband, Rob, came into the picture. I have been blessed to know the Browne family for about 11 years and am honored to have them beside me at this exciting time. We are committed to bringing to our community delicious breads and goodies made from freshly ground wheat grown in Montana’s Golden Triangle, the best wheat source on earth.
We also handcraft great-tasting sandwiches, salads, grain bowls, and more! We are honored to be one of over 200 independently owned stores in the US. Great Harvest is about customer service and the promise of phenomenal tasting food made with freshly-milled whole grains and pure and simple ingredients.Rob, Traci, and I are looking forward to meeting and serving the residents of our wonderful town and surrounding areas. Stop by and see us! Opening April 7th. 150 Athens Hwy, Suite 700, Loganville, GA. Next to Sonic on Highway 78.