Sadly, Great Harvest Bread Closing Its Doors

Marty and Kim Kane make the hard decision to close. They will bake their last loaf of bread on Saturday, Feb. 1.

One of Geneva's downtown treats is closing as of Feb. 1.

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.

Sincerest regards,
Kim and Marty

Jeff walsma January 20, 2014 at 08:11 PM
It is sad that Great Harvest is closing.Its just the tip of the ice burg of closings in Geneva.Lets face the facts about this town with high property taxes and lack of business down third street.Lots of merchants are having trouble dealing with the economy.Lack of help from the board and other city officials doesnt help.When the town hall meeting comes up go to it.don,t sit by and SAY NOTHING.
Alison Pignotti January 20, 2014 at 08:12 PM
So sad!!
Metamict State January 20, 2014 at 10:23 PM
I couldn't agree more with Jeff and Alison. To make matters worse, it's my experience that the city doesn't really offer much help for new business trying open. I had heard that Cotto a Legna owners had a very hard time getting the necessary permits and nearly ran out of capital waiting for the city to approve their oven. Now I'm hearing that the new Patten House restaurant is facing similar issues. While we certainly can't blame everything on the city....it's a very tough climate right now for just about everyone...it does seem like the city should be proactively helping new businesses clear the hurdles needed to open.
EHP January 21, 2014 at 07:48 AM
So sorry Marty & Kim! Best of wishes in the future.
Jeff Ward January 21, 2014 at 08:13 AM
And if Marty Kane can't make that business work, then no one can! The previous commentor is right, we can't blame everything on the city, but how long has the old U.S. Bank building been sitting empty? Despite Joe Stanton's glorious predictions, how long have the Third Street stores to the south of GHB been sitting empty? You see, Geneva won't make any effort to attract a business if it even appears to compete with the Chamber's list of friends. Even worse, as that previous post noted, they can make it downright difficult for new business to open. When the Pure Gardener was forced out by Stanton, the city of Geneva ignored their pleas for new location assistance while Batavia welcomed them with open arms. We all know the end to that story. C'mon city council, it's time to take this bull by the horns because Ellen DaVita certainly won't.
genevaman January 21, 2014 at 11:04 AM
Us Bank, Erdays, Kiss the Sky and now Great Harvest? Not to mention the empty building behind where Erdays sits. I'm all for capitalism and letting property owners do as they choose, but that area is getting killed and it looks poor on the city. I would love to know what is the City's plan for sustaining a business there.
Mike January 21, 2014 at 03:16 PM
Rents are stupid-high downtown. If a 4000sf spot costs you $6000 per month, plus CAM fees, what can possibly crack that nut every month except another bar? The landlords apparently have deep enough pockets that they are willing to let a property sit vacant until the next sucker with a dream and a loan comes along.
Bob McQuillan January 21, 2014 at 07:36 PM
Geneva residents need to get involved and understand what is really happening throughout town. Elected officials are more concerned about everyone liking them instead of making tough decisions and doing what needs to be done. Electing the same people year after year brings the problems that the city, school district and library are now facing. Ignoring problems and increasing taxes every year isn't the answer to our problems. And yes, we have problems.
Jon Azavedo January 24, 2014 at 06:41 PM
City of Geneva tried everything to keep Great Harvest from being successful. Remember the "big issue" with the drive thru? Oh no, it will create traffic and pedestrian headaches. Never heard of one incident. Another non-issue created by meddling locals.
Jeff Ward January 24, 2014 at 08:08 PM
Jon, You're right. Stay tuned for another Jeff Ward column this weekend where I debunk Ellen DaVita's assertion that she tried to help Great Harvest Bread. Geneva did nothing to help Great Harvest stay in business. More to come...
Mike January 24, 2014 at 11:48 PM
Jeff, we await the flogging of the dead horse with bated breath


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