After almost 30 years in the insurance industry, June Bergeron has something new cooking.
In October, Bergeron will open a Great Harvest Bread Company franchise in Mechanicsville. The eatery will be the brand’s first location in the Richmond market.
Bergeron’s 1,800-square-foot shop is under construction in the Rutland Commons Shopping Center.
“After 26 years, I am satisfied with my corporate success,” Bergeron said. “Owning a small business will be gratifying and offer more opportunities to give back to the local community.”
Great Harvest Bread sells bread, scones and muffins, as well as sandwiches.
Bergeron first heard of the company through her sister, who introduced her to the location in Manchester, Conn.
“My sister was a faithful and frequent customer, so I’d always go to that particular store’s website and get her gift cards and gift baskets,” she said. “It dawned on me that Mechanicsville didn’t have a Great Harvest Bread Company, and the more I looked into it the more I liked it.”
Great Harvest has been in business for 30 years and has more than 200 locations, including nine in Virginia.
Bergeron reached out to the owners of Great Harvest Bread franchises in Charlottesville, Warrenton and Burke, and their assurances helped her commit to starting a franchise, she said.
According to Great Harvest Bread’s corporate website, the average initial investment for one of its franchises is $303,425. Bergeron said she took out a small business loan to start her franchise but would not disclose startup costs.
Bergeron said she would look to hire 12 to 15 employees, and she plans on getting her hands dirty, too.
“I believe in order for any business to succeed you as the owner have to be hands on,” she said. “I expect to put a lot of hours in the bakery, making sure everything is running smoothly.”
With her first store still in the oven, Bergeron is already tossing around ideas for expansion.
“The ultimate goal would be to open a second Great Harvest,” Bergeron said.