Great Harvest eyes mid-February opening
Company hopes to mirror Delafield location’s success

By JAKE MEISTER - Freeman Staff

Jan. 21, 2017

Jon Rasmussen stands on the second floor of the Great Harvest Bread Company while work on the building continues.
Jake Meister/Freeman Staff

OCONOMOWOC — Great Harvest Bread Company is aiming to open its new store in downtown Oconomowoc the week after Valentine’s Day, said franchise owner Jon Rassmussen.

The franchise, which Rassmussen describes as a bakery and cafe with a fast, casual vibe, will operate at 127 E. Wisconsin Ave. in a two-story building that owner Jason Dvorak is upgrading, using the $25,000 in loans the Oconomowoc Community Development Authority approved in late-August.

The authority also granted Rassmussen a $25,000 loan for the venture.

The large windows at the front of the Oconomowoc Great Harvest Bread Company will bring a great deal of natural light into the shop.
Jake Meister/Freeman Staff

The upgrades

The building sports a recently extended facade, a variety of touchups to both its front and back end, and perhaps most importantly, a storefront caked in newly installed windows that Rasmussen said will shower the shop with natural light.

Inside, the building has been equipped with improved wood flooring on the second level and a new stairwell that Rassmussen finds especially impressive.

“It’s pretty dramatic,” he said. “Pretty impressive.”

First floor

Rassmussen said the first floor of the business will be able to seat 12 to 14 people. The customer service counter will sport freshlymade samples of bread and sweets, such as muffins, scones, bars and sweet bread atop a bread board.

Customers walking through the hallway connecting the first floor’s front and back can see the bread being made.

Second floor

The building’s second floor, which is near completion, will be able to seat 24 to 30 people. A small meeting room will have space to host six to seven people.

Like other Great Harvest franchises, the menu of the Oconomowoc shop will be shaped around fresh ingredients.

All breads will be made using honey and not high-fructose corn syrups.

Rassmussen said all meats in the store will come from Ney’s Big Sky Ranch, a Slinger-based butcher shop.

Customers can purchase frozen cuts from Ney’s, as well as products from other local businesses.

Rassmussen said the demand for freshly made, preservative-free foods is “absolutely growing” and it has increased since he opened his Great Bread Company in Delafield in 2011.

“Parents are very concerned of what they’re feeding their families,” he said. “We saw that immediately when we opened in Delafield.'