"When you walk in, everyone’s smiling, everyone’s happy, everyone’s doing their job. They don’t have to be told what to do— they know what needs to get done.”
- Robert Newton, Director of Quality Assurance & Food Safety
To produce thousands of Craft Seed Bars and Seed Butters per week, you need a dedicated, first-rate bakery team that takes pride in their work and genuinely enjoys each others company. This team, above everything else, is the key ingredient to 88 Acres.
“Almost immediately, you can see how well they perform together as a group,” said Brad Puglio, Director of Operations. “And it’s not something to be taken for granted.”
Walk into the bakery and you’ll see the team functioning like a well-oiled machine. Complacency doesn’t set in; nor does resentment — the single argument that’s broken out was over soccer. Day in and day out, the team proudly does their work, knowing that the culture they all created is truly special and rare.
“We talk to our staff, and everybody that comes here, like people,” said Puglio. “I don’t talk to them as if I’m talking down to the bakery staff and they don’t talk up to me like I’m a manager. We’re all just people trying to get stuff done.”
Throughout the day, the team cycles through hundreds of pounds of pumpkin and sunflower seeds. As 88 Acres expands across the country, the bakery staff will double and new equipment will allow them to increase their production capacity by up to 5x. But as operations grow, the team is making sure that the culture remains the same.
“This place thrives on being human and everyone getting along,” said Robert Newton, Director of Quality Assurance & Food Safety. “You can see it instantaneously."
Stemming from the first bakery hire, all members of the bakery have been referred by others. They recognize that one bad apple can spoil the bunch and therefore must have confidence that a new team member will contribute to the clear sense of community and respect that’s ingrained into the bakery.
“Not to sound like a Hallmark card, but we definitely have a family atmosphere here. And what I mean by that is that it’s literally a family in that most people in the bakery are related to each other,” said Puglio. “Our particular setup works because even though a lot of people are related, it’s not like they’re all living together. They all have their own lives but they’re still related. That being said, because they’re families, they still check each other.”
Even with new products added to the lineup and orders on the rise, the bakery hasn’t skipped a beat. And since 88 Acres owns the entire operations process, product innovation happens very quickly. From idea to execution, it took about six weeks to craft the Smoky Maple BBQ Pumpkin Seed Butter and the Oats & Cinnamon and Double Chocolate Mocha Seed Bars.
“We have people that are very good at their individual levels of responsibility which makes all the difference in the world,” said Puglio. “Because on top of them just being exceptionally good at what they do individually, they’re also willing to do anything else that might not fall into their job description. They’ll jump in at a moments notice.”