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It is the right to associate with like minded people looking for common ground, solutions and opportunities. (Honestly, I don’t think it is the “Anything not expressly prohibited is allowed” clause in our franchise agreement -- if you are very familiar with us, you'll know what I mean.)

Trust me, we have had, and continue to have, people that really push the envelope in terms of what works in Great Harvest, and that is totally cool and healthy. But, the real benefit of the Freedom Franchise is the constant incubator status that is each one of our bakeries every day. The benefits are not found in reinventing the wheel each time a store opens. 

The beauty of people trying new things and sharing them leads to collective and incremental success on a wide scale. And, it is interesting and fascinating to watch the freedom-centered mind set mature and evolve in our system.

Early on, everything was new. The Learning Community was just that. A true learning experience. As time went on, fewer and fewer situations in Great Harvest were truly new. We had encountered most of life’s problems and opportunities. What happened with our brand was the Learning Community evolved into more of a sharing community.  The more seasoned ideas got handed down to a new generation of bakers and the people just entering the system now bring fresh blood and new ideas.

Success in today’s Learning Community largely comes from people that are committed to being more than just another whole wheat bakery. The true essence of the Learning Community is the people that make their Great Harvest a special experience. Bread. The way it ought to be. Those that put farm to table goodness in every loaf.

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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.