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It takes a year to build and open a local retail bakery. 

There are factors that impact the timing but, on average, it takes about a year from the day you commit to the plan (for us,  that is the day you sign a franchise agreement) to the day you open for business.

There are really three phases to opening a store and the last two go like clockwork.  They are:

  1. finding a location,
  2. building the store while training, and
  3. final preparation. 

Timing of the location process is the least predictable of the three.

 local retail bakery

Working backwards, the final prep takes about a month.  To set an opening date, we require a series of milestones be met that culminate in the picking of the date three weeks ahead of your opening.  The milestones are benchmarks we know are essential for a strong opening.  

Prior to that, you have to build the store and accomplish all of your training goals.  That is generally a four month process.  A month for final design, permitting and bidding for construction followed by a 90 day build out process, during which you do all of your training. 


Those are all averages but generally, they hold true.  And, run like clockwork since they are very systematic. 

What is less predicable is how long it takes to find a good location.  I have seen it take, literally, one day.  That isn’t going to happen again in my career as all of the factors fell into place that one time.  What is very reasonable is about 3 to 4 months.  To properly analyze and research available locations and rank them generally takes about 2 months.  Negotiating the terms of the lease takes about a month and finalizing lease language takes about a month.  

Why so long on the lease and terms?  There are lots of parties involved.  Real estate brokers.  Lawyers.  Property managers.  Property owners.  You.  Us.  Everyone has to be involved and that just takes time.  


Each step of the way in the process of opening your Great Harvest is a considered decision.  We have done this for almost 40 years and know what works in today’s market.  We are methodical but are so for a good reason. 

If you are interested in learning more about the steps to open your neighborhood bakery with Great Harvest, you can learn more here:

 Learn About Starting Your Own Bakery

I am Mike Ferretti, the Chairman and CEO of Great Harvest. But, I am also a dad who grew up in a world with old fashioned business ethics. Before Great Harvest, I thought those days and companies were gone. Luckily, I now get to work with a group with a strong moral compass that genuinely lives "Give generously to others" and "Run fast to serve customers." And we do it with more than just lip service in a way that allows us to set an example for others. I am proud that my kids are proud of what I do for a living.