Detail

June 11, 2019

The Little Bakery That Could

Photo of the Great Harvest Bread Co. building.

It’s been 24 years since Rand and JoEllen Kunz first opened the doors of their Great Harvest franchise in Taylorsville. Despite not having a background in business, Rand majored in English while JoEllen was a recreational therapist; they’ve found continued success in the path they have chosen.

The inspiration to open their Great Harvest franchise came from Rand’s time working at the Holladay location. He enjoyed it so much that his original plan to become a teacher was scrapped and the rest is history.

While Rand has stepped away from the day to day operations, JoEllen is still actively involved and loves her work and they life they have built together.

“Being a business owner is a deliberate thing. If you choose to be deliberate, you can create your own world,” she said “You get to create the environment and the culture, you decide who’s here. I learned by accident that my attitude has a huge impact on my business.”

JoEllen explained that owning a business creates an illusion to a lot of people. People often think you are gaining control of your life by working for yourself, but she said that is far from the truth.

“What you quickly realize is you are actually working for your customers, you all of a sudden have all these people who are dependent on you for their living. You are actually giving up a lot of control,” she said. “It’s pretty hard to get fired, until you realize your customers are the ones that can fire you.”

Whatever your business is, she says the answer is love. Not a typical business model but she thinks they’ve made it this far by that belief. By adopting the idea of love as the bottom line, it has changed the focus from making money to fostering strong relationships.

The couple didn’t know anything about banking relationships at the start. They chose their financial institution based purely off of convenience. JoEllen said it was one of the best accidents in her life. Cyprus Credit Union was within walking distance of their bakery. They walked in one day for a loan not thinking of the other benefits they would receive.

“I had no idea how important a bank relationship was. I didn’t have any business knowledge whatsoever. So in the beginning we just didn’t even know that was something that could be a resource,” she said. “Having this relationship has benefited us in countless ways. Having your banking partner as a resource is so important.”

JoEllen believes she is the person she has become because of the journey she had to take. She describes herself as a “tenacious scrapper” and attributes a lot of her success to the lack of business knowledge she had at the beginning. Whatever challenges she faces, she feels like she can be adaptable; the same attitude she had at the very beginning. 

“I wouldn’t wish my journey on anyone. But I also wouldn’t change anything about it, save maybe having a business plan at the start,” she said. “We’ve seen a lot of changes in society that have affected our business, but we’ve been adaptable. It’s been the little bakery that could.”

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