Friday, July 19, 2024

CEO of King Arthur Baking discusses maintaining America’s oldest flour company’s relevance | WGN Radio 720

King Arthur Baking Co.: A Flourishing Business with a Rich History and Bright Future

King Arthur Baking Co., America’s oldest flour company, has seen a surge in demand during the coronavirus pandemic, with interest in home baking on the rise. CEO Karen Colberg shares insights into the company’s growth and unique employee-owned structure.

Founded in 1790 during President George Washington’s time, King Arthur Baking Co. faced a six-fold increase in demand at the start of the pandemic. The company quickly adjusted its supply chains and production to meet the needs of home bakers, focusing on popular items like bread flour.

Colberg, who joined the company in 2005 after working at Gap Inc., credits King Arthur’s long-standing mail-order business and online baking resources for its ability to connect with customers during the crisis.

As interest in home baking continues to soar, King Arthur is planning to open baking schools across the country to further engage with customers and expand its market share outside of New England. The first school is expected to debut in early 2026.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, King Arthur has remained committed to its employee-owned structure, with Colberg emphasizing the benefits of giving employees a long-term stake in the business. This approach fosters collaboration and a sense of unity among staff, especially during uncertain times.

With a focus on innovation and diversification of products, King Arthur aims to reduce its dependence on flour while continuing to provide high-quality ingredients for home bakers. Colberg’s leadership and experience as a former co-CEO have prepared her to guide the company through future challenges and opportunities.

As King Arthur Baking Co. continues to adapt to evolving consumer preferences and economic pressures, its legacy of quality and commitment to its employees remain at the forefront of its success story.

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