King Arthur Flour in the news
by TruexCullins, May 11, 2011
King Arthur Flour to begin expansion in JuneYear-long project will bring more space to every aspect of the Norwich-based businessWritten by Dan D’Ambrosio, Free Press Staff WriterVermont’s King Arthur Flour Co. plans to break ground in June on an expansion of its facility in Norwich, adding more space to every aspect of its headquarters, including the bakery, retail store, baking school and cafe.
The project, estimated to cost $8 million to $10 million, will be completed in stages and is scheduled to be finished by June 2012.“We decided a couple of years ago we were at the point of needing more space,” Carey Clifford, assistant to president Steve Voigt, said Monday. “During holidays it’s very crowded in the store. It’s not the shopping experience we wanted for our customers.”Clifford said King Arthur, an employee-owned company with 250 workers, mostly in Vermont, will be adding 12 to 15 employees as a result of the expansion and a consolidation of its headquarters, adding about 4,000 square feet in all.“Our education classes are selling out; we’re starting to turn people away from those,” Clifford said. “The bakery has the opportunity for additional wholesale accounts. We have limited seating in the cafe. People are looking for more seating. It’s a good problem to have.”Clifford said the project will combine the existing two buildings on the property into one, tearing down the building that currently houses the bakery and baking-education center and combining it with the building that houses the retail store and cafe. By bringing everything together, Clifford said, people who are eating in the expanded cafe will be able to watch the King Arthur bakers through a window, and students in the education classes will be able to walk directly into the store and cafe.“It has been a dream of ours, long in the making, to create a facility where our visitors can fully experience our passion for baking — whether through taking a class at our Baking Education Center, watching our artisan bakers in action, enjoying lunch at our cafe, or shopping at our Baker’s Store,” Karen Colberg, a vice president and general manager at King Arthur Flour, said in a prepared statement. “The next year creating this facility will be a great adventure, and we look forward to sharing the journey with our customers, as we remain open throughout construction.”In addition to doubling the capacity of the cafe, which currently accommodates about 25 people, the project will include an additional classroom in the education center and add another shift in the bakery, Clifford said.“There will be fresh baguettes in the middle of the day as well as morning,” Clifford said.King Arthur Flour is the oldest flour company in America, founded in 1790, and is the No. 3 flour brand in the country behind Gold Medal and Pillsbury. Clifford said the company had $84 million in sales in 2010.She said former owners Frank and Brinna Sands brought the company to Norwich from Boston in 1984, and decided in 1996 to sell the company to its employees.