Gold Standard Baking positions croissants as sandwich carriers to provide meal solutions for eating occasions throughout the day.

Pieces of the puzzle


In all, securing a greater share of the food service, in-store bakery and c-store channels remains the core of Gold Standard Baking’s vision to become the nation’s leader in the fully baked croissants and laminated sweet goods category.

“The constant challenge is adapting to the marketplace, understanding where consumers want to spend their money and formulating products to meet their needs,” Yianny Caparos said. “The American palate over the past five years has really changed. They’ve either been traveling abroad, or several European companies have been bringing more premium pastries to the U.S. Consumers now appreciate value and quality, and they’re willing to pay a little higher price for the croissant than a biscuit, per se.”

While Mr. Dinnin now spearheads the company’s in-store-bakery initiative, Gold Standard Baking has recruited a management team that can fulfill that vision while guiding the complexities of a multi-plant operation.

From a business perspective, Mark Grosshans, chief financial officer, who’s worked for the company for seven years, serves as one of the main anchors.

“He has a ‘real’ pulse on who we are, what we do best and where we want to go,” Yianny Caparos said.

During the past two years, the company hired Scott Shelley, vice-president of operations, and Dan Dodevski, vice-president of engineering, to manage overcapacity and start-up of the newest laminated sweet goods line.

In March, Gold Standard Baking also recruited Jeff Dearduff, chief operating officer, who has nearly 40 years of engineering and operations experience and is a well-known member of BEMA, the American Society of Baking and the American Bakers Association. As c.o.o., Mr. Dearduff will head up day-to-day operations, freeing up Yianny Caparos to focus on broader initiatives for the business.

“He is the perfect piece to make this puzzle final,” Yianny Caparos observed. “Jeff has a great demeanor and approach. He brings great knowledge with him, but best of all, he has a great ‘team’ spirit and one where he takes the time to teach people when they need it.”

With the Pleasant Prairie facility designed and equipment already purchased, Mr. Dearduff’s main initiative involves collaborating with Mr. Shelley and Mr. Dodevski to ramp up installation while keeping a close watch on the Chicago operation.

“We can buy all of the equipment in the world,” Mr. Dearduff said. “We can bolt it in and wire it up. If we don’t have the people who understand it and can handle any adversity, we’re not going to be successful. It’s about getting people ready, processes right, delivering quality products and making sure that performance is sustainable.”