Papa Pita operates 90 company-owned routes in Utah, Las Vegas and Boise, ID. However, the bakery’s definition of a route is a little out of the ordinary because its version of direct-store-delivery includes a drop-ship system and teams of merchandisers, according to Dustin Bakker, national sales director.

Going to the merchandiser system reduced the number of trucks the bakery uses by 28, or to about 62 trucks in all. Mr. Bakker estimated the savings to be about $500 a week on average per truck on operating costs and insurance.

“I’m trying to take the money out of what I’m wasting — I get sick seeing these trucks sitting out there for 15 or 16 hours a day and not being used — and put it to better use,” he said.

Farzad Mohebbi, president and CEO, is proud of what his sales group has accomplished over the past two years. “To go from hardly any shelf space in our market to having half or more of the entire bread set in most major chains is truly amazing,” he said.