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Great Harvest Bread Co. wants to try again in Buffalo Niagara

A 40-year-old bakery company – which closed its only location here last year – is targeting Western New York for expansion.

Great Harvest Bread Co. is looking for franchisees to open bakery and cafe units in the Buffalo Niagara market. Right now, the closest locations are in Rochester. The company entered the market with a store in the Town of Tonawanda in 2001. Most recently, it had a store on Buffalo Street in Hamburg, which closed last year. The owner closed shop after encountering some personal matters, the company said.

"Great Harvest is excited about the prospect of reintroducing its fresh bread and baked goods to the local area," said Mike Ferretti, the company's CEO, in an email.

The Hamburg location had been one of 10 local Montana Mills stores Great Harvest bought, rebranded and refranchised in 2004.

Great Harvest refers to itself on its website as "more local than Panera Bread." It grinds its own Montana-sourced wheat and bakes its own bread from scratch daily. It serves fresh bread, pastries, sandwiches, grain bowls, soup and salads. It also makes dog treats.

The Montana-based company has identified 55 new franchise opportunities, it said. Franchisees will purchase a territory where they will open one bakery operation. Then, using a "hub and spoke" model, they can open as many bakery-supplied cafes as they choose. The chain is known for letting franchisees choose their own decor themes and customize their menus to the local market.

The cost to open a Great Harvest bakery and cafe is about $315,000. The company hopes to open 25 locations within the next 15 to 18 months throughout the Northeast.



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