dave's killer bread story

Dave refused to pack clothing for the trip, not even a toothbrush. But the compelling narrative of Dave’s Killer Bread had already taken hold in the public consciousness. For Dave, this was more than just taking a few loaves of bread to a local market. In 1987, he was addicted to drugs and incarcerated for home burglary. Protect your waistline, eat healthy, and conform to keto diet guidelines. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. He’d parked his Escalade “in the middle of the road like a jackass,” as he tells it, and gone inside to get a cup of coffee. Close. The bread was a hit and Dave’s Killer Bread was born. We got the scoop from a nutritionist. The problem: Dave hadn’t touched a lump of raw dough in more than a decade. … He missed that.”, Michelle knew the sabbatical spelled the end of Dave’s time with the company, even if he couldn’t see the signs himself. His tone is almost reverent, the look on his face like he’s remembering seeing the loaf for the first time. “The guy on the logo is fictitious.”. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. “DAVE IS ALL ABOUT DAVE,” she wrote. It will rock your world. In prison, plenty of people around him were trying to die. Shobi accused his uncle of having an overinflated ego, of wearing cutoffs at work, of threatening to hit him. Yet he was swiftly eclipsed by Dave’s face and name. Less than a year later, Dave’s drinking got so serious that the company’s new board of directors took notice. It was as hard on his employees as it was on Dave. On November 14, 2013, just before 11:30 a.m. PT, an employee of Dave’s Killer Bread made a call to the police. In most prisons, written requests are commonly known as kites, though no one seems to know where the term came from. When the board found out, the members forced him to take a sabbatical. Chris was a “loose-cannon buddy,” as Dave tells it. He’s a danger to himself and others,” the voice told the 911 dispatcher. “Mr. … He went into the store and he smashed a cutout, a life-size cutout of himself, because he’s a symbol of the brand, and he’s intimidating employees that are watching him. By 2013, the Dahls had shed the old family brand; Dave’s Killer Bread’s quick-rising popularity led the family to phase out the NatureBake label. This is not about me,” he says. The company's hiring practices -- about 30 percent of employees are ex-cons -- will not change. Available at grocery stores in 11 states. It’s organic, non-GMO, packed with protein, fiber, and whole grains with no artificial flavours or colours. This glutenous ice-breaker was successful; a sea of hands would raise after the first gift was tossed, each person hoping they’d be the next to receive nourishment from the stage. Archived. They’d trade seething emails — airing out frustrations that vacillated between petty and consequential. A lack of information or understanding about employing people with criminal backgrounds can make businesses hesitant to explore this option, and we're here to change that. Dave's Killer Bread bakes and markets bread and other bakery products. “I’d keep telling myself, I am so fortunate and so grateful and so humble. “He was still hoping for it to go back in some capacity,” she says. Goode Partners LLC, a New York equity firm. The media had picked up on it before they did. They just wanted to hire good people and sometimes those good people just happened to be felons. “I knew it was good when I pulled [the first] loaf of Blues Bread out of the oven,” Dave says. “I could see it in him that not having control over what was happening with the bakery and the eventual selling of it was just taking a toll on him.”. It has a strong flavor, which is exactly what he’s after. Sometimes people just change. He was a literal poster child for breaking through a sordid past and finding success. Seeing his bread in stores is like looking into a fun-house mirror. But it might also be the 30-something guy an aisle over, too. Now 55, he was behind bars for more than a quarter of his life. Dave Dahl (second from left), co-founder of Dave's Killer Bread, stands with his attorney during a Washington County Circuit Court hearing Feb. 14. “There has been a recent softening of attitudes toward hiring ex-felons,” he notes, and “some prisons are now more about positive reinforcement and accountability-based growth. By 2012, only seven years after its founding, the company’s revenue exceeded $53 million. Many more weren’t bothered by a hint of scandal in their baked goods. He never throws them on the ground. “We have an employee who is in the front of our parking lot and he is physically intimidating customers in our store. By 22, he was a full-fledged criminal. Dave’s evasion led him into a cul-de-sac, where one deputy positioned their car in the middle of the road as a barricade. Posted by. “It wasn’t like we were thinking, Oh this is a felon-friendly program, or anything like that,” Dave says. If you held the image on the bread’s packaging — an illustration of a muscular man with long, black hair and a mustache shredding on a guitar — up to Dave’s face, you could tell it was him. In a seven-year span, the company went from 35 employees to about 280. He told the cartoonist to make the muscles in his arms a little bigger, his face less rough. He just wanted to make something people would like. Those who have read only what’s printed on the back of bread packages know none of this. “Killer bread or just killer?” read one comment. "I was a four-time loser before I realized I was in the wrong game," Dave writes on the back of each loaf of Dave's Killer Bread… In his memoir, Dave writes about a “monster” that lurked inside him. Packing in more whole grains per serving than any of our varieties, 100% Whole Wheat has all the nutrition you crave, without the seeds. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. The companies merged in November, with Dave Dahl as president. When I did bread, I had to sell bread,” he laughs. The real Dave doesn’t even have a mustache anymore. Watch The Dave’s Killer Bread Story. The officer didn’t follow him. And, as they say, the rest is history. Our story began in 2005, at the Portland Farmers Market, when Dave Dahl and his nephew brought some loaves of bread to sell. The narrative of Dave’s Killer Bread understandably wasn’t updated to include its cofounder’s fall from grace. Once Dave got out and his bread became successful, the company hired more. The Dave's Killer Bread Foundation was created in 2015 to inspire and equip other businesses to adopt Second Chance Employment. Dave takes a Camel Wide out of his pocket and lights it. He was supposed to drive the three or so hours to Seattle that night with Michelle. He filled out what essentially amounted to an SOS, and dropped it in the kite box. Dave's Killer Bread brings in a partner to take its loaves - and story - to a national market Updated Jan 10, 2019; Posted Dec 27, 2012 Dave's Killer Bread sells 50 percent of ownership Dave’s Killer Bread (DKB) is committed to creating meaningful employment opportunities for individuals who have criminal backgrounds. In the end, it’s either going to be you or me,” Shobi wrote. He could talk to people and felt confident; life didn’t feel quite so heavy. Dave’s collection is stored at the Discover African Art warehouse in Clackamas. The company has steadily grown, expanding from 30 employees to more than 190 by 2010 and to 280 by the end of 2012, and has been covered by The New York Times and MSNBC. But whatever the slang term’s origin, in prison these scraps of paper can change lives. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local. He is just unbelievably humble and genuine. Otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to talk to me or any other writers. Another confesses, “We tell perfect strangers about it in the bread aisle at our Safeway! "Once you get to the size we've reached," Shobi Dahl said, "you realize how much a mistake can cost you.". It was a pivot point reached by many fast-growing small businesses. … We’re very scared. “I was 38 years old, in prison, suicidal, trying to figure out a way to kill myself that would work,” he says. “I started playing guitar and learning quicker.” Maybe it was the medication that changed everything; maybe it was nothing more than finally asking for help. It was founded in 2005 by Dave Dahl, who learned the baking trade growing up in his family bakery. “If there’s another one there already, I’ll pick that one up, too.”. Dave, Shobi and Glenn Dahl felt like the company was rising out from under them, like dough with super-charged yeast. It’s a term we don’t take lightly, considering it comes from our legions of fans. “There was part [of him] that was in touch with reality and part that wasn’t,” Michelle says. Dave seized the opportunity and worked tirelessly to develop a killer new recipe for organic and Non-GMO bread, which was debuted at the Portland Farmers Market in 2005. He was depressed, suicidal, had trouble making friends. "We're bakers," as Shobi Dahl said. He met his then-girlfriend, Michelle Bain, when he was still that caricature, Dave of Dave’s Killer Bread. In 2012, they sold half the company to a New York private equity firm, Goode Partners LLC. In Clackamas, broken-down cars sit outside broken-down houses while tidy McMansions are installed a block away; this is where Tonya Harding used to skate. “He didn’t want no part of helping and he thought media wasn’t the way to go,” Barbara wrote in a comment. Solution/Project. After a few hours, Dave drove off on his own and was greeted by Washington County Sheriff’s deputies, who had also been requested in addition to the mental health professionals they’d called for. They weren't bankers or marketers, after all. Dave, with his ex-con persona, ponytail, gravelly voice and bodybuilder's chest and biceps, was a ready-made viral backstory. Dahl sat frozen, gripping the steering wheel, unresponsive to the commands to exit the vehicle,” according to the defendant’s memorandum submitted during the criminal trial after Dave’s arrest. After a few years of not-so-scientific experimentation with illicit drugs, he started taking methamphetamine in his early 20s. Everyone likes a success story; everyone wants to talk about the guy who pulled himself up by the bootstraps, worked hard, and became a multimillionaire. He saw something that reminded him of himself, perhaps more so than what he saw in the illustration on the Killer Bread packaging. Dave Dahl (born January 12, 1963) is an American entrepreneur, known for co-founding Dave's Killer Bread. All she was told was that Dave had been taken to the hospital and was “fine,” according to her friends. He sees it everywhere. Dave Dahl Documentary in the Works! Just over five years after its birth, Dave’s Killer Bread had grown so big that Glenn and Dave had to either sell a share of the company to afford to keep growing or leave it a fairly small regional business. He sold the loaves at farmers markets and shared his story of recovery on the package – a branding decision that attracted fans and media attention. In a few hours, Dave has to go to his daily Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I let the company down. Each variety had a logo of Dave strumming a guitar on it. Punching a cardboard cutout of yourself isn’t a crime. David Dahl wasn’t quite himself that day. And now that the company has been sold and Dave is out of the office, if not entirely out of sight, it has slowly redacted his story from the packaging, one rewrite at a time. Commenters say that they want to support a company giving chances to other people like them, especially when the bread tastes so damn good. "The objective of bringing in a partner is not to rock the boat: You've got something great, how do you make it better?". But something clicked between him and Michelle — they were together, on and off, for eight years. “It just makes me sick. "The company has just scratched the surface in California," said Daniel Bonoff, a partner at Goode Partners, the equity firm. Soon he was telling his story to thousands, to students and lawyers — to anyone who’d listen. Though he recently opened a boutique in the Pearl District in downtown Portland near the $3 million penthouse he just purchased, the warehouse is in a blue-collar part of town on the outskirts of “keep it weird” Portland. When Dave Dahl looks at those bread packages, what he sees is what we all see: a freshly transformed ex-con ready to leave the past behind him and has created a product that people don’t just like but adore. One in three of the more than 300 employee-partners at the company’s Milwaukie, Ore., bakery has a criminal background. But there’s a part of him that wants people to know the real Dave, the one who’s just trying to keep himself in one piece. He was arrested time and time again. Then he noticed it, through the window: a familiar silhouette, a reflection of everything that had put him on sabbatical in the first place. Shobi and Dave Dahl will remain with the company, which now sells in 11 western states. “The love of my life out there just laying in blackberry bushes for so long,” she wrote. 6 years ago. By choosing I Accept, you consent to our use of cookies and other tracking technologies. The rapid growth since 2005 was exciting, but with it came worry. This story begun after Dave spent 15 years in prison, where he found an opportunity to reinvent himself in the most unlikely of places: the family bakery. , assumes half-ownership in exchange for an infusion of cash and management and marketing expertise. “I’m so excited to be developing a feature-length documentary with Joe Coppoletta, Catherine Blanksby and Blue Chalk Media about the epic life story of Dave Dahl. First it was car stereos and a two-man operation to shoplift Nintendo games from the local mega-mart to resell on the street (Dave was the getaway driver). They reached a point where they operated three bakeries, had manufacturing partnerships with two others and sold 400,000 loaves a week in 11 western states. My heart’s not in it,” he says with a sheepish smile. HILLSBORO, ORE. — The founder of Dave's Killer Bread, David Dahl, was arrested after a disturbance and chase that wrecked three patrol cars, the Washington County sheriff's office said. In some ways he’s profiting from keeping quiet about his story. Brooklyn. There’s not a lot of money in the bread business, especially not when one store is feeding a family of six. Occasionally music strays up from the shop floor. Please also read our Privacy Notice and Terms of Use, which became effective December 20, 2019. This was the first of many killer breads, a sliced loaf of whole wheat with seeds and blue cornmeal rolled around the outside that gave it a ghost of cerulean hue. If you’ve ever watched a car chase in an action movie, you’ve seen a sped-up version of what happened next. His rough past and the years in prison had made it hard for Dave to form long-term relationships with women. Shobi Dahl will remain CEO until a replacement is chosen in 2013. Today, Dave's Killer Bread sells over a dozen types of bread in grocery stores nationwide. He’s keeping his more valuable personal collection intact, but he figures he’d might as well let a charity sell the items and make some money. The legend of Dave lives on in a multimillion-dollar company he no longer runs, though he has invested some of the $33 million he received in the sale back into the enterprise. Justesen says that it was Dave’s diminished role in the company that brought on his eventual self-described breakdown. They knew enough to recognize they needed help to sort things out. “Everything started working better,” Dave says of the end of his time in prison, shortly after he filled out that kite. A deputy rapped on Dave’s passenger window with their metal baton. “One thing about this place is if it fails, it’s going to fail big time,” Dave says. The last time he went in, in 1998, the charges included assault, and possession and delivery/manufacture of a controlled substance. The party had been going strong into the next morning when Chris said he had to go back down the mountain. Police found the car in the city of Fairview later that day, but Chris was gone and no one knew where to or why. Equity firms look for opportunities that will return three times the initial investment, and analysis indicates Dave's Killer Bread could reach that just by greater penetration of California. From the time Dave got out of prison and started baking, the company started growing, from 25 to 50 employees and up — at its peak, 300 worked out of the Milwaukie bakery. That was in 2005. The Healthy Bread Store is our bakery outlet store right here at World BreadQuarters in Milwaukie, OR. Do they flatten and cruise, risking stagnation and eventual decline? In 2015, the Dahl family sold the business for $275 million dollars. He stole, got caught, went to prison, got out, hit repeat: “The arrests were happening like clockwork almost.” And because most of his sentences were plea deals covering multiple charges, Dave is fuzzy on the details of how many crimes he actually committed. The company specializes in $10 million to $30 million investments in consumer-oriented companies with high growth potential, and liked what it saw. Or go for it, and risk losing who they are? Dave’s Killer Bread has become a prism through which people see their own comeback narratives, be it from addiction, or homelessness, or being in abusive relationships. When Dave went to talk to schools, it wasn’t as a drug recovery speaker; it was as a success story. This drawing was always a bit of fiction, depicting the baking rockstar Dave the way he wanted to be. Dave and Shobi Dahl said employees were given "significant" bonus checks Thursday as a result of the deal. Without anything to be on his best behavior for, Dave could do whatever he wanted. Of course, he’d gotten his hopes up about Dave before, but Glenn wanted to give him another chance. “It wasn’t necessarily going to work, but it could work,” Glenn recalls, “so I couldn’t not give it a chance.”. She wrote that she had asked Dave to help look for Chris and approach the media to spread the word about Chris’s disappearance. He says that if he aims for the trash and misses, he’ll walk over and pick it up. When selling drugs wasn’t enough, he would steal. He says he remembers saying things like, “go, don’t go, stop, go, don’t go,” which didn’t mean anything but in his head seemed perfectly logical. This is the updated version of the original Dave's Killer Bread Story produced in 2009 by Michael Nelson Rizzo for www.MJCreativeSolutions.com After several months of intense discussions, the company announced major changes Thursday. “Somehow [Dave] was under the impression I was trying to cheat him,” was all Glenn would say on the subject. Prior to it, he had served a total of over 15 years in prison for multiple offenses including drug distribution, burglary, armed robbery, and assault. Terms of the deal were not made public. I was driving. Dave’s Killer Bread, his former company, makes a point of hiring qualified candidates with criminal backgrounds, who now make up 30 to 40 percent of staff. “That’s how drunk I was.”. That’s when he had his “great epiphany”: He had no choice but to somehow make his life worth living. Told through the lens of its previously incarcerated founder, Dave Dahl, Club Fed invited affluent foodies to not just break bread with each other but help break the silence on a rarely talked about subject. That includes the good and the bad: The celebrity status in Portland; the speaking engagements; the evasion of police in 2013, during which he rammed several cop cars; the mysterious death of a friend after a “boys’ night” at Dave’s cabin near Mount Hood. The image of kites flying pleas for help through the prison system is as beautiful as it is fantastic. “The monster came in a different form this time, but it was worse in a sense. © 2020 Advance Local Media LLC. For disciples who brought the bread into their homes based on the founder’s character, his presence at the periphery of a death was more than enough to turn them away. He was a pretty lousy one, too. “Dave Dahl. Dave doesn’t remember exactly when or where he tried meth for the first time. Glenn and Dave launched four varieties of Dave’s Killer Bread at the Portland Farmer’s Market in August 2005. Still, people jumped to their own conclusions. He cringes while describing people who tried to cut their own throats, but were saved just in time. Dahl was fixated on a theme of peace, love, and enlightenment, identifying himself with Jesus and Buddha.”. Dave was prescribed an antidepressant by a physician’s assistant, though he isn’t sure whether he was ever diagnosed with depression. At one point he taps an open water bottle against his knee so hard that the liquid flies out of it and onto his pants. "There's a whole lot of room just south of where the company is right now.". It's an amazing concoction of seeds, flour, and the usual ingredients baked up to be the heartiest, most delicious bread of all time. Then he waited. Good Seed was always special for Dave, the loaf as well as the name. He just kept buying masks and, with millions in the bank, he had plenty of money with which to do it. That was the year he finally had the money to own a place for himself. Dave’s Killer Bread® is powerfully different with killer taste and killer texture. When the fog cleared, a thought flashed through him: His actions may have led to the death of Dave’s Killer Bread. “When I did drugs, I had to sell drugs. The Dahls were making organic, sprouted-wheat, non-GMO, no-animal-fat bread before there was such a thing as “certified organic” — their faith helped them be ahead of the curve during the ’70s, “when nobody cared” about such labels, as Dave says. But smoking is the one habit he hasn’t broken. As we talk, he fidgets. The two friends met during one of Dave’s stints in prison. Glenn had hired a few ex-cons to work at the bakery while Dave was in prison; their dad had a history of hiring those who struggled to find work, so it felt natural to keep the tradition going. One night, on August 3, 2013, he got drunk at his cabin near Mount Hood with some friends. He’s had to live up to his own fictionalized image ever since 2005 and even though the company isn’t his anymore, his face hasn’t gone anywhere. When the new company launched in 2005, Dave’s Killer Bread offered four varieties: Blues Bread, Nuts & Grains, Good Seed, and Rockin’ Rye. That meant a lot of trial and error. Sales are so slow that he has started to give some of the art away. Jimmy Dean got old enough to be dropped as company spokesman; he no longer looked like the face people thought of when they thought about Jimmy Dean. Angelo Fraggos, a veteran food industry executive from New York, will be board chairman. Dave changed his attitude and now works to change the attitudes of other ex … Lives can be bleak and small and sad, and then they can expand. (He was later granted conditional release after being found guilty except for insanity; during a forensic psychological examination, he was diagnosed with bipolar I.) Behind the scenes, tension was growing between Glenn, his son Shobi, and Dave. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement, Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement, and Your California Privacy Rights (each updated 1/1/20). Dave received $33 million in the sale, but he lost a little of himself in the process. Dave has spent the past few chapters struggling to be a better person, to put some good back in the world to make up for what he’s taken out of it. I let the employees [down],” he says. The masks have helped Dave reclaim what he lost when he gave his face away to the company he founded. “They just call me Dave,” he says. If it hadn’t been for the night spent with Dave and the drinking — Chris, she said, had been sober — he would still be alive. All rights reserved (About Us). 1 organic bread in America. Dave’s Killer Bread has become a cult favorite across the nation, drawing in both health-conscious consumers and those who root for second chances in life. Dave's Killer Bread will continue to produce just that, he said. They went to market just months after Dave first started testing recipes. Dave recalls loitering outside the company building, striking up conversations with employees walking by and enjoying a cigarette. “I do not look down on Dave, only hope that he finds peace,” said one Facebook comment. They were planning to follow Dave’s Escalade at a distance. The man behind the brand is finally ready to tell it. Loaves rained down upon them. They were wasted. has been told many times: A bad turn, drugs, assault, robbery and 15 years in and out of prison before breaking clean. “I’ve been avoiding people because I wanted to live my life,” he explains. “It was the most run-down house in the neighborhood,” Dave recalls. They knew they had something killer and unique, but little did they know how much these products would shake up the bread aisle. “It was the biggest story,” she says. Dave's Killer Bread sells 50 percent of ownership, (Gallery by Beth Nakamura, The Oregonian). “I thought I’d made a difference and all of the sudden it’s like, did all that shit just go up in smoke?”. One of the friends secretly made three calls to mental health professionals that evening. That’s where the rumors started. When the bread company’s sale went through, Dave started going to garage sales on the weekends, and found an African mask at one of them. More often, he defined himself by the words on the packaging that briefly sum up his life story: He was a “loser,” an “ex-con.” It took a few drafts to get the caricature just right. The connection is slightly staticky — the sound equivalent of a shaky handheld camera. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. Dave’s story amplified the allure of his bread, and the brand made him a local celebrity. “Whenever we weren’t in school we were working.” According to Glenn, the eldest sibling, they made 25 cents an hour — five was used to buy clothing, 10 went to pay for school, and the last 10 cents was pocket money. That cost him a year. Two blocks away from the house, Dave ran into one of the deputy’s cars. After a third deputy arrived on the scene, they pulled Dave from his vehicle, used a Taser on him twice, and threw him to the ground. Today it can be found in 22,000 and growing — the largest organic bread company in North America. The Healthy Bread Store . One day he and Glenn “woke up” and realized over 100 of their employees were ex-cons. "We took that on in the most mindful way one could," he said. In the comment section under a link to the Willamette article, Barbara posted a long, all-caps comment about her husband. Even if it does, it will just become one more chapter in his story — available for anyone to take or leave. If the Dave on the package represented the qualities in himself he idealized, the masks present a much fuller, realer spectrum. Dave’s Killer Bread has become a cult favorite across the nation, drawing in both health-conscious consumers and those who root for an unlikely success story. Blues Bread was the mother bread, and once Dave had the core idea — a healthful wheat loaf rolled in seeds and grains — “she just started having kids.”. The cofounder of Dave’s Killer Bread was on sabbatical from the multimillion-dollar Milwaukie, Oregon–based company, but his time away from work had done more harm than good. He was sliding into his car when an officer approached him and said he wanted to talk. The Best Bread in the Universe. Glenn offered Dave a job at the bakery immediately after picking him up from the bus station after his release. So says the label on each loaf of Dave's Killer Bread, a playful tagline that alludes to both the organic nature of the ingredients and the darker side of Dave Dahl's past. For someone who still holds onto remnants of a self-destructive streak, Dave goes to painstaking lengths to keep it self-contained. “But still, there was an unreal sort of ego.” Dave is telling me this story in a dim office, reclined three-quarters of the way in a massage chair. Then the real Dave disappeared from public life while his caricature appeared in more and more aisles across the country. He hardly remembered how to bake bread. Oscar Mayer and Chef Boyardee are long dead. Behind those hundreds of faces — time-weathered, intricate, strong — that’s where you’ll find the real Dave. "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere because Portland has acquired a discerning taste.".

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