Grand Central Bakery

Case Study

A Fully-Baked Plan for Growth at Grand Central Bakery

Grand Central Bakery has sold delicious loaves, sandwiches and pastries to hungry patrons for more than 25 years. With 10 retail locations and a growing wholesale business across the Portland and Seattle metro areas, the owners wanted to evaluate the company’s structure and their own roles to ensure their brand’s continued rise.

A Strong Starter
Community has always been a key ingredient to Grand Central Bakery’s success. The company is co-owned by a close-knit group of friends and family members, and their collaborative, hands-on approach has attracted loyal customers and outstanding employees for years. These six companions wanted to ensure the business’s ongoing healthy growth, but they worried that a cookie-cutter restructuring might damage the welcoming culture that made Grand Central a success in the first place. After a careful review, they decided that Coraggio–where we emphasize relationships over bureaucracy–was the right fit.

Self-Rising Collaboration
While the company had a clear mission statement, it had the opportunity to articulate an equally compelling vision: An aim that would create high-level context and inform future decisions. The owners started from scratch by gathering input from a broad cross section of employees at their Seattle and Portland locations. The resulting vision earned staff support and helped to further ground the entire team as we continued our work.

Too Many Bakers in the Kitchen
Grand Central’s owners were, and continued to be, engaged in their business–and actively running it. With an emphasis on creating greater operational efficiency, we reframed and refocused each of their roles to create a clearer, more effective organizational structure and decision making model. A review of existing governance protocols helped us to revise various Board of Directors procedures, and we recommended the creation of an Advisory Board that would introduce outside leadership perspectives to the organization. One owner was designated interim CEO, and new leadership positions were created to head up their product and brand efforts.

The Icing on top
Grand Central Bakery is moving forward with even greater clarity on the implications of growth and—as important, why growth is important to the organization’s future. Board meetings are more focused, and the outside advisors have been a valuable resource.

The governance and culture shifts helped the owners further solidify working agreement with one another and created greater role clarity in key areas of the organization. Our coaching prompted a richer understanding of individual strengths, which in turn helped them respond to the changing dynamics in the company. Their willingness to adapt as leaders will ensure that Grand Central Bakery continues to stay true to its mission as it grows.

“ Our partnership with Coraggio was productive on many levels. They were effective in helping us think through a range of important strategic and organizational decisions. From the beginning, they took time to understand the nuance of our culture and worked to tailor their counsel to our unique challenges. We look forward to future projects with the Coraggio team. ”

— Claire Randall, CEO