Always the optimist, Gary Gottenbusch projected a banner year for Ditsch USA. And why not?
Since the president of the Cincinnati-based company started up in 2015, the demand for its signature soft pretzels has fueled double-digit annual growth and prompted the business to boost capacity and new product potential. Because the business had been so robust, the company completed yet another investment in January designed to set the stage for a breakout year. This time, it started up a second production line that effectively tripled the bakery’s capacity. Shortly after the line fired up, the pandemic hit.
Despite the national shutdown nobody could have predicted, Mr. Gottenbusch noted in Baking & Snack’s June issue the timing of the company’s investment couldn’t have been more fortuitous. The new equipment included new flowwrappers, baggers and other systems that paved the way for Ditsch USA to serve the new retail-ready packaging that customers want for food safety reasons. It wasn’t an easy transition.
Like many wholesale bakers, Ditsch USA scrambled to diversify its business and adjust its operation in a matter of weeks. As a stable supplier in the industry, the company worked with c-store and retail customers to shift from bulk to bagged or individually wrapped. The two-pronged approach worked as its growing list of customers sought to keep up with demand for the onslaught of prepacked pretzels.
Today, Mr. Gottenbusch is still optimistic about having a banner year. In golf, players like to say it’s better to be lucky than good. In business, it pays to be both.