Wright’s Bake Shop under new ownership

Traverse City’s Stone House Bread desires to serve the community

NEW BEGINNING: Stone House Bread Manager Chronis Vanias (back row, center) is welcomed to Reed City by former Wright's Bake Shop Owners John Hanna, Karen Wright and Don Wright, and Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Suzie Williams. (Pioneer photo/Karin Armbruster)

NEW BEGINNING: Stone House Bread Manager Chronis Vanias (back row, center) is welcomed to Reed City by former Wright’s Bake Shop Owners John Hanna, Karen Wright and Don Wright, and Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Suzie Williams. (Pioneer photo/Karin Armbruster)

REED CITY — Life will return to the former Wright’s Bake Shop location once more as staff of Stone House Bread work their magic in the building that has hosted a bakery for a century.

The sale agreement between the two businesses became official on Nov. 21, following negotiations between Stone House Bread owner Tonie Spearing and former Wright’s Bake Shop owners Don and Karen Wright and John Hanna. The two business teams have known each other for years, and once Stone House Bread manager Chronis Vanias (also known as Paul) discovered Wright’s was closing its doors, they began discussing the business’ purchase.

“It was meant to be,” said Karen. “It’s a win-win for everybody and couldn’t have been more perfect.”

Vanias agreed and looks forward to re-opening a bakery in a building housing such a business for decades.

“We do share the same excitement as the local community does about this location,” he said. “We’re going to use this strategic Crossroads location to our benefit so we can ship our product all over the state.”

Stone House started in 1995 as a small bakery located in the village of Leland on the Leelanau Peninsula. In 2003, the business moved the entire wholesale artisan baking piece to larger space in Traverse City, where bakery staff hand forms each loaf of bread, making up to 6,000 per night to be delivered throughout most of the state.

“Bread is the foundation of a great sandwich,” Spearing said. “I’m really excited to see the Stone House Bread name on menus across Michigan.”

Using mostly Michigan-based products, the business creates more than 15 different types of bread, ranging from asiago cheese to cherry walnut, and creates each loaf with organic flour, well water and sea salt. Stone House also creates preserves, dipping oils, coffee, cookies, scones, biscotti and more, however it will not sell fried items, like Wright’s formerly sold.

Within the Reed City storefront, the company will focus on creating cost effective, 100 percent natural bread for local food markets. Spearing soon plans to visit area restaurants with samples and hopes Stone House Bread can provide an outlet for food service businesses.

A variety of pastries including rustic apple tarts, scones, muffins and cinnamon rolls will be offered for sale at the location, and Spearing hopes customers will be able to walk through the shop doors in the next few weeks.

“My goal is to be open before Christmas,” she said. “It depends on how quickly we can get things going. This has been a really fast process. We’ll start slow and build what we’ll offer. We want to do everything perfectly.”

Veteran baker John Hanna will continue to work in the kitchen under Stone House Bread, and Spearing hopes to hire more of Wright’s former employees as the demand increases for the business’ products.

“Wright’s gave us the space and well-trained, quality people,” Spearing added. “We believe the people make us who we are and we want to be part of the small town of Reed City.”

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Posted by Karin Armbruster

Karin is the reporter for Osceola County’s Herald Review. She is the coordinator of the Health page, which runs in the weekend edition of the Pioneer. She can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8382 or by e-mail at karmbruster@pioneergroup.com.

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