Then the magic happened.
The four varieties that Dave created were Blues Bread, Nuts &
Grains, Good Seed and Rockin’ Rye. Dave, along with his nephew,
Shobi, who had recently graduated from Willamette University with
a degree in Economics, wasted no time in sharing these products
with the public. So in August 2005, Dave’s Killer Bread launched at
the Portland Farmer’s Market. It happened to be a “Summer Loaf”
artisan bread festival so there were many competitors, but DKB
certainly stood out among the crowd.
Letchinger said Dave and Shobi had only planned to sell at the
farmer’s market that one time, but the rave reviews from custom-
ers led the Portland Farmer’s Market to ask the new brand to per-
manently join mid-season. The response went above and beyond
DKB’s expectation. “(The farmer’s market) was like, ‘Well we want
you every week.’ And then we had natural retailers saying they
want us. And then Fred Meyer and Kroger were like, ‘We want you,
too,’” Letchinger said. “We were really opportunistic in riding that
It was this opportunity to introduce the new breads that was
vital to the rise of Dave’s Killer Bread. Business boomed and the
Dahl’s were getting phone calls from people wanting their bread.
By that same fall, Dave’s Killer Bread products appeared on
shelves of Portland retailers, including New Seasons, Whole Foods
and Fred Meyer.
Baking Up Success
During its rise to fame, the company had about 35 employees
and was producing about 2,000 loaves per day. Today, the bakery
employs about 300 workers and produces half a million loaves
during an average week. “When you’re growing as much as we
are, you have to be able to kind of roll with it,” Letchinger said.
The "World Breadquarters" is where all the magic happens. The
production facility takes up the majority of the space with 25,000
square-feet, while an in-house ingredient warehouse helps to hold
10,000 square-feet of flour and organic materials. "This supply is
always coming in and out," Enfield said. "There are 2,500-pound
bags of flour stocked all over the warehouse. It's a pretty powerful visual." The main site also contains an employee café, The
Healthy Bread Store and a newly built Research and Development
test kitchen. The state-of-the-art R&D area opened in July 2014
and is used to evaluate and experiment with new ingredients and
"We want to be a brand that's constantly innovating,"
Letchinger said. "We were very fortunate to have a leadership
team that saw the value in (building a new test kitchen). It would
be very easy for us to say we are just going to make 21 Whole
Grains and Good Seed, expand everywhere in the country and rest
our laurels there, but that's not the kind of brand that we want to
be. We have innovative spirit."
While Letchinger wasn't able to reveal whether or not Dave's
Killer Bread has another creation in the works, he did declare
that the company is "not a sleepy brand." With a top-notch R&D
staff, food scientists and some of the best bakers in the world,
Letchinger says that the team is always throwing around ideas. In
March 2014, the Seeded Honey Wheat was the first new product
launch in two or three years. At that time, honey wheat breads
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