Baking&Snack - July 2013 - 20

G

by Laurie Gorton

Go where your customers take you. This primary business dictum shaped ACE Bakery’s decision to open a
new $18.4 million, 60,000-sq-ft manufacturing location
at Gaffney, SC. Although the Toronto-based bakery has
been selling its frozen par-baked artisan breads in the
US since 2003, this venture marked its first south-ofthe-border outpost — south of the US-Canada border,
that is.
“This bakery helps define our future in a meaningful
way,” said Lee Andrews, president of ACE Bakery. “It’s
proof of our strong commitment to customers and US
bread-lovers coast to coast. Our intent is to put an ACE
baguette on every kitchen table in North America.”
At full capacity, ACE Bakery’s newest location can
output 32 million frozen par-baked baguettes a year —
enough to stretch across the Atlantic from Gaffney to
Paris and back again. As currently configured, the new
bakery produces par-baked breads, including ACE’s
classic baguettes and rustic ovals, and it will eventually
bake breads 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days
a year. “This bakery will take us up to 100 million loaves
annually systemwide,” Mr. Andrews said.
Selection of Gaffney gives the company access clear
down to Florida and points west.
The Vaughan, ON, bakery
handles the Northeast,
explained Philippe

20

/ Baking & Snack / July 2013

Gaudet, director of marketing. “But it was challenging
to supply bread to California,” he observed, “however,
we knew we could ship from a Mid-Atlantic location
throughout the US.”
In a related move, two weeks after celebrating
Gaffney’s grand opening, ACE Bakery’s parent company,
George Weston Ltd., Toronto, indicated a new focus favoring the US for its capital investment program over
the next few years. During a May 7 analysts’ briefing,
company president Pavi Binning cited the new Gaffney
bakery as an example of this commitment.

Bakery metamorphosis
Toronto has been home to ACE Bakery since its founding 20 years ago. What began as a passionate hobby
evolved into a world-class bakery, a leader in the freshbaked artisan category and an emerging powerhouse
in frozen par-baked breads. Today, almost two-thirds
of the company’s business is with in-store bakery and
foodservice customers.
“Our focus is on innovation,” Mr. Gaudet said. “That’s
a sweet spot for us with our customers.”
Like many of the big names in the baking industry,
ACE Bakery started in a family kitchen, that of Martin
Connell and his wife, Linda Haynes. But unlike those
other bakery entrepreneurs, they sought a different archetype: not a soft farmhouse-style loaf of white
bread but an authentic French baguette. They
launched their quest in 1982



Baking&Snack - July 2013

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