Marty and Kim Kane, owners of the Great Harvest Bread, will bake their last loaf of bread on Saturday, Feb. 1. They'd run the bread and sandwich store at 13 N. Third St. for almost five years, but simply couldn't make a go of it in the hard economic times.
"We're very sad," Marty Kane said by phone Monday. "We love Geneva, and we love our customers."
The Kane's made the difficult decision after the start of the year and made the announcement by email on Sunday, Jan. 19.
"We have enjoyed being part of the great business community in
Geneva," the Kanes wrote. "We want to personally thank our loyal customers and philanthropic partners throughout the Fox Valley."
The business supported as many as 17 employees at its peak, and presently has 11 employees. Kane said the decision to close is emblematic of the struggles of mom and pop businesses everywhere.
"You can’t begrudge the American consumer," he said. "But we can’t compete with the supermarkets that have really stepped it up. You go to Wal-Mart and Target, where they can get ingredients for pennies on the dollar. For me, the price of ingredients has gone up 400 percent, and my prices can’t keep up with that. Nobody’s going to buy a $40 loaf of bread."
The unusually cold and snowy January probably helped make the decision to close as clear as ice.
"A bad day weather day comes along, and I made all this stuff, and now I’ve got to give it to the Salvation Army," he said. "We tried to keep the quality up to par, and if nobody comes in because it’s 20 below zero, you don't sell any bread."
At Great Harvest, they bake the bread every day from "the highest quality wheat kernels we can find and stone mill them into fresh flour every day right inside our bakery," according to the Great Harvest website.
Kane said he probably will trade his baking apron for a suit — or at least business casual — and go back into corporate marketing, which was his trade prior to taking the leap into small-business entrepreneurship.
Kane had just one request from people who love the bread shop and other local businesses.
"Mom and pop shops are an important part of the landscape of this country, and I hope people continue to consider that," he said.
Folks who want to have a last taste of the excellent samplings at Great Harvest will have a chance during regular hours of operation, Tuesday through Saturday through Feb. 1.
"Call in advance and place an order, because hopefully we’ll be crowded the next weeks," Kane said.
Kim and Marty Kane's Parting Letter
"It is with great sadness that we have decided to close Great Harvest Bread Co. in Geneva. As of Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014 we will bake our last loaf of bread for our incredible customers.
We have enjoyed being part of the great business community in
Geneva. We want to personally thank our loyal customers and philanthropic
partners throughout the Fox Valley.
We will continue to live and raise our family here in Geneva. We appreciate all the support of our friends, colleagues and customers who came and shared our bread. We will truly miss you all and wish you the best in all of life’s adventures.
Looking forward to a bright future for all.
Kim and Marty