ACE Bakery

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ACE Bakery logo

ACE Bakery is a maker of European-style, artisan breads and baked goods. The company, based in Toronto, has some 35 varieties of bread, made preservative free and from natural starters, in addition to other specialty products, including a line of granola[1] and artisan crisps,[2] marketed across Canada and parts of the United States.[3] Along with fresh baked breads, ACE Bakery also makes par-baked or partially baked, flash-frozen dough.[4] Founded by a Caledon, Ontario husband and wife, the company is today owned by George Weston Limited.[5]

History[edit]

In 1982, Martin Connell, a business executive,[6] began baking baguettes, as an early-morning weekend hobby, in the kitchen of his home near Caledon, Ontario.[4] Connell and spouse Linda Haynes, a former television producer,[7] continued to experiment with bread-making techniques and eventually built a small "bakehouse" on the property. They also began visiting bakeries in North America and Europe, as they considered the possibility of starting their own business.[4]

Connell and Haynes opened ACE Bakery at 548 King Street West, downtown Toronto, in March 1993. Located in a former handbag factory,[8] the bakery cafe was initially a 100-loaf-a-day operation.[9] From inception, the couple pledged that a portion of all after-tax profits would be directed to Calmeadow, a charitable foundation in support of micro-financing they had established a decade earlier.[8] By 1996, ACE Bakery sales had reached approximately $4 million.[10] A year later, the business was moved to a larger, 23,000-square-foot facility in North York, which was eventually doubled in size.[4]

In 2001, ACE Bakery introduced a line of frozen dough, a process in which the bread was 85 percent baked and then flash frozen.,[11] The new product was sold to in-store bakeries and restaurants in Ontario, parts of New York and Michigan, as well as resorts in the Bahamas.[4]

In terms of marketing and promotions, Haynes published "The ACE Bakery Cookbook: Recipes for and with Bread,"[12] in 2003, which became a bestseller.[13] It was followed three years later by a second book, entitled "More from ACE Bakery."[14]

By 2008, the company's annual sales approached $50 million and were growing at a double-digit rate.[4] That year, Connell and Haynes, along with Canadian investors Birch Hill Equity Partners, sold ACE Bakery to Glencoe Capital, a Chicago-based private equity firm.[15] Three years later, ACE was acquired by Weston Foods Canada Inc., a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, for $110 million.[16]

The company recently announced plans to construct a bakery in the United States. The facility, to be located in Cherokee County, South Carolina, will cost $18.4 million.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ACE Bakery". Toronto Life. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "More good things". ACE Bakery. Retrieved 26 November 2012. 
  3. ^ "An ace in the kitchen". Doctor's Review. May 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Silverman, Craig (August 28, 2008). "Trading bread for dough". Globe and Mail. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  5. ^ Baid, Deborah (November 3, 2010). "ACE joins the Weston Empire". Globe and Mail. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Our Team". Birch Hill Equity Partners. Retrieved October 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Final Proof". Bakers Journal. July 2007. 
  8. ^ a b Kane, Marion (March 10, 1993). "Bakery breadwinner for Canada's poor". Toronton Star. 
  9. ^ Johnson, Jessica (October 16, 2003). "The official Toronto baguette". Globe and Mail. 
  10. ^ MacDonald, Gayle (February 9, 1996). "Let them eat bread". Globe and Mail. 
  11. ^ "ACE Bakery's winning hand". Bakers Journal. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Taster's choice". Globe and Mail. November 22, 2003. 
  13. ^ "Ginger, almond and lemon cake". Natalie Maclean. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  14. ^ Adrian, Marks. "One cannot live by bread alone.". January magazine. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  15. ^ Honey, Kim (April 9, 2008). "Ace team sells bakery". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  16. ^ "George Weston Ltd. buys ACE Bakery". Food Service and Hospitality. Retrieved October 5, 2012. 
  17. ^ "ACE Bakery investing $18.4M, creating 51 jobs in Cherokee County". GoUpstate.com. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 

External links[edit]