More Than a Bakery opens the doors to its newest operation

by Joanie Spencer
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More Than a Bakery
As homage to the state’s history, More Than A Bakery’s facade was designed to resemble an old Kentucky distillery.

VERSAILLES, KY.— Commercial baking is generally not considered a relaxing environment; no one really visits a bakery plant for serenity. But when people arrive at More Than A Bakery in Versailles, Ky., they can immediately sense something different — perhaps even special — awaits.

An innovation of Richmond, Ind.-based Richmond Baking, the nation’s oldest family-owned cookie/cracker manufacturer (which also has a facility in Alma, Ga.), More Than A Bakery sits tranquilly on 113 acres of rolling bluegrass that were once home to a horse farm. Today, the 200,000-square-foot facility houses more than just capacity. The bakery was designed to foster a culture that combines the family-like values of service, integrity and stewardship with a vision of being “world-class creators of cookies, crackers crumbs and smiles.”

The More Than A Bakery experience literally begins at the street even before the building — whose façade is more reminiscent of an old Kentucky distillery than a manufacturing plant — comes into view. The vehicle entrance holds two gates: one for “Creators,” as in the employees (Family Members) who create the cookies, and the other for “Fans,” as in customers (Raving Fan Customers) and other visitors. 

More Than a Bakery
The rotary’s hopper is equipped with level sensors to ensure the pieces are evenly distributed for the die, which can be rolled out of place on a track.

“Before people even think about the bakery, we want them to first think about their purpose for being here,” said Bill Quigg, president, More Than a Bakery. “This gives us a chance to ask everyone, ‘Who do you want to be when you come in?’” 

The point is that, Mr. Quigg said, when people enter with intention, the experience has meaning.

In the beginning, More Than A Bakery was developed to answer a need for capacity.

“We were completely out of capacity in Indiana,” said Kevin Miller, vice-president, Raving Fan Customers. 

The Georgia plant still had some capacity, but the company needed space to produce more horizontally-wrapped products that are the primary focus for More Than A Bakery, which produces two- and three-count cookies and crackers for food service and other industrial outlets. 

“It’s not all that helpful for the sales group to say, ‘We’ve got nothing to sell,’ and this allows us to grow again. From here, our potential will be almost limitless.”

More Than a Bakery
The automated ingredient handling system delivers bulk ingredients through a pneumatic blower system up to the scale hoppers at the mixing station.

To solve the capacity problem and create future opportunities, the company spent three years searching for a place to call home with help from The Austin Co. During the site selection process — which took them from St. Louis to Detroit to South Carolina, Tennessee and, of course, Kentucky — More Than A Bakery realized its needs went far beyond capacity. 

“Our criteria included a place where we could recruit top talent in a growing workforce, have customers visit easily and, of course, have abundant ingredients,” Mr. Quigg recalled.

In the end, Versailles checked all the boxes … plus an important bonus: “It came down to where we would want to live and raise future generations of family members, Quiggs and otherwise,” he said.
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