SEATTLE — On the eve of its 30th year in business, the acclaimed Grand Central Bakery is busily accelerating its growth prospects while on the expansion trail, with plans to open another bakery cafe in the Wallingford neighborhood of north-central Seattle next spring.
This will be the fifth retail outlet for Grand Central in Seattle, where the bakery was founded by Gwen Bassetti in 1989. The bakery is still locally owned and operated.
“Seattle is growing, and we’re growing with it,” said Lara Trepanier, retail director for Grand Central.
Two years ago, Grand Central moved its bread production and commissary kitchen into a larger facility on Nevada Street, which will support new growth.
Grand Central recently opened a new bakery cafe in the Wedgwood neighborhood of Seattle. This is the fourth Seattle retail location for Grand Central, which also has bakery cafes in Pioneer Square, Eastlake and Burien, as well as seven cafes in Portland, Oregon. The newest cafe is bright and open with white tile, fir accents and a soaring wood-beam ceiling. With seating for 40, the retail store conveniently includes outdoor tables and a shared parking lot.
“We always believed in business as a force for good and that growth is what fuels our mission,” said Claire Randall, chief executive officer of Grand Central. “As we grow, we can serve more customers high-quality, sustainable and local ingredients and increase the capacity of the regional food system, while offering fair wages and investing in communities.”
A year ago, Ms. Randall oversaw a companywide pay raise designed to bring greater parity to its wage structure for employees. She also lobbied the Oregon legislature in support of statewide legislation to raise the minimum wage and embraced Grand Central’s role as a leader in the sustainable food movement by championing its local and regional growers.
Grand Central is an award-winning locally owned artisan bakery established in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square. The company has thriving retail and wholesale bakeries in both Seattle and Portland, supplying traditional rustic hearth bread to restaurants and local grocery stores such as Fred Meyer and Whole Foods Market. Grand Central is the first B Corp Certified bakery in the Pacific Northwest.
In 2012 Grand Central was named one of 20 Great American Bread Bakeries and its Como loaf one of the top artisan breads in America by Saveur.
Grand Central’s new Wedgwood store offers a full line of artisan bread, including loaves not available at grocery stores, hand-made pastries baked fresh daily on site, fresh made-to-order sandwiches, and coffee and espresso drinks featuring Victrola Coffee. The Wedgwood bakery cafe opened with a staff of about 18, many of them seasoned employees who transferred from other Grand Central locations. Seasonal pastries and sandwiches, scratch-made soups and salads highlight sustainably produced ingredients, including pastured eggs, locally grown fruits and vegetables, and Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.
For quick meals at home, customers can purchase frozen pot pies and pizza dough from the bakery’s U-bake freezer. The bakery’s U-bake line also includes frozen fruit pies, buttery pie crusts and puff pastry, and cookies for home baking.
“We are so excited to have another place to connect with customers who may have been getting our bread for years at markets, but don’t yet know our wonderful pastries, coffee and sandwiches,” Ms. Trepanier said. “Wedgwood is a vibrant community of families, parks, schools and other small businesses. We already feel so welcomed and we’re happy to be part of it.”