Big changes at Happy Campers -- new bakery!

Big changes at Happy Campers -- new bakery!

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Dear happy campers,


You might have noticed we’ve been a little quiet recently. Don’t worry. It's not that we don’t love to share and talk with you! The reason is that we’ve been incredibly busy because…we’re moving to a new bakery!


To be completely honest, the move was sudden and completely unexpected. It’s been a crazy-tough past few weeks, but we’re tremendously grateful and excited for the good change! 


Here’s what the move to the new bakery means…followed by the full story of what happened!

  • None of our recipes or ingredients are changing
  • All products are still the same size (in weight) they’ve always been
  • Loaves and buns will have a slightly different shape because we’re using slightly different-shaped pans 
  • This week is our first week of baking, so we’d like to kindly ask for your patience as we dial-in all our processes and equipment
  • Loaves could be slightly denser than usual and have some small imperfections. This will improve, as we learn to operate and finetune all the new equipment. If any of your products are not satisfactory, please let us know so we can make it right!
  • Our packaging is a bit different. Instead of vacuum bags, we’re using double bags. The inner bag has an organic, natural mold-inhibiting coating – which protects your bread from mold. This inner bag doesn't change our allergen statement in any way, and it is corn-free. We are actively looking for a packaging machine to allow us to seal our loaves again AND use the new bio-based packaging material that we have ready
  • Frozen shelf-life is still 1 year and refrigerated shelf-life is still 14 days. But ambient shelf-life is now about 1 week. So, for optimal freshness, please freeze or refrigerate your loaves upon receipt
  • We’ll be transitioning our online order shipping this week and next. We’ll do our absolute best to avoid any delays…but orders placed later this week might have to wait until mid-next week to ship. We’d kindly like to ask for extra patience. At any rate, we’ll keep you posted!
  • The new bakery is gluten-free certified and dedicated. It’s also peanut-free. There are tree nuts (almonds, pecans and hazelnuts) processed in the bakery; however, equipment is not shared and products with nuts are never produced on the same day. All working surfaces are cleaned and tested to ensure absence of nut allergens. Please reach out to us if you have any specific allergen-related questions. 

Okay, here’s the full story, dispersed with photos from the first week of baking, to break up the long novel!

 


As many of you know, Lacy and I started our bakery in 2010. We ran our small, wholesale bakery in Portland, OR, until about 2016. We outgrew our small place and were faced with options to expand. Right around this time was when Lacy’s health deteriorated. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and, to focus on healing, had to scale back her involvement in the business. 


Lacy’s shift in focus was difficult – she’s always been the brains…obviously. The risk and size of investment to equip a whole new bakery just wasn’t something we were able to absorb at the time. So we sought the option of a partner bakery, who we could work with to produce our bread. 

 


We found just such a gluten-free bakery and started to produce with them. Over the years, as we continued to look for partners who care as much as we do about the quality and consistency of our bread we’ve changed “buddy” bakeries 3 times. We’ve always had very close relationships with these bakeries and Jan visits them monthly to train and audit.


We worked with our last partner bakery for almost 4 years and they’ve been wonderful. Unfortunately, they’ve really struggled with labor shortages this year – which is why you’ve seen some short-term out-of-stocks on our website. 

 

 

Then they had a change in management and, long story short, they kicked us out! It was completely unforeseen and out of the blue. Despite our best efforts, they were not amenable to our plea to at least give us a few weeks to find an alternate solution.


We left no stone unturned searching for a suitable alternative to bake Happy Campers bread. With a lot of grit and some luck, we’re thrilled to have found a new home! Happy Campers is pleased to partner with AVA Manufacturing, located in Denver, CO. Here's Andrea in the blue shirt, the founder and owner of AVA, along with production manager Evelyn. The photo on the top of this blog post shows the fantastic AVA crew that now makes Happy Campers bread!

 

 

AVA is a women-owned business with genuine commitment to product quality and employee happiness. We’ve been at AVA Manufacturing all this month to assist with training and baking. 


Thank you so much for your support as we embark on this new chapter. Our promise to you is to do our darndest to offer the best service and products that we can. Working with AVA bakery is a huge step in that effort. We’ll keep you posted on how the move is going. Thank you so much for being with us on this journey to gluten-free wellness and happiness!

 


Sincerely,


Lacy and Jan