Meet Simple Kneads’ newest addition! (no not me, the truck). We are out with the old and in with the new!
This is a milestone! We started out with these silly little old dodge caravans and wore all those out. Then we moved onto cargo vans. It wasn’t long before we realized that we weren’t able to keep up with the demand. We needed something big enough to move palettes. So, we got a 24 ft. box truck. The box truck lasted a couple of years before we no longer had the capacity to move all the bread that was being ordered. We had to start taking two trips, and that’s pretty time consuming. When we finally did the numbers, we realized we couldn’t afford not to go bigger. So, our current set up is a tractor trailer – the Volvo sleeper unit and a 53 ft. dry van (trailer). This vehicle can carry up to 30,000 loaves of bread! That’s a lot of bread!
My husband Isaac (COO of Simple Kneads) has been making monthly trips up to New Jersey to deliver to our newest contract, Gold Medal. Last week I went along. As Director of Brand Development of Simple Kneads I was excited to write up a story. What an experience!
We left our little bakery in Graham, North Carolina early in the morning. The night sky was clear and the air crisp and cold. Our Quality Control & Supply Chain Coordinator, Gabe Gutierrez, had just loaded the trailer with 18 racks of freshly baked bread (over 7,000 loaves). Isaac did the routine checkup, and we were off. I have to say, climbing into the cab of a truck this size certainly gives a 100 lb., 5’2” girl an extra boost of confidence lol.
As we went through Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, the old buildings and bridges of the east were intriguing to me with their amazing architecture and history. Being raised in Alaska, it’s all so fascinating to me. And I gained a new respect for truck driving and the drivers!
It’s one thing to watch truckers maneuver their loads through the streets and highways but it’s another thing altogether to sit in the cab as you see your life flash before your eyes. I’m not sure if my husband will take me on another trip. You gotta give me a little grace, some of those back-alley streets of New Jersey, with cars lined up both sides, are nerve racking, especially at night!
At every rest area we stretched, ran a few laps and did jumping jacks. We arrived at the Gold Medal dock a little later than we wanted and the sun had already set. There were trucks unloading, so we waited our turn. The space to maneuver your truck to the dock is somewhat small, but we were met with warm smiles and the night crew was super helpful. They helped us unload the 18 racks of bread and allowed us to park in the alley of the building and stay the night. We were hungry and grateful to not have to drive another hour to find a rest area, and at that time of night the chances of availability would have been slim.
We wanted to find a nice place to eat after the long drive but as you can imagine, it’s not so easy to find parking with a semi. With the temperatures quickly dropping we were thankful for the warmth of the sleeper cab. We relaxed with the radio playing in the background and made ourselves a salad, toasted some Simple Kneads bread, got out the hummus and veggies, and enjoyed a little picnic feast.
The next morning, we woke to a wintery wonderland. Snowflakes swirled about our mobile “apartment” and the trees and roads were covered with a dusting of glorious white. As my husband did the pre-trip and got the truck ready for our drive back home, I took an invigorating 20 min. jog in those early silent hours. It’s not Alaska, but I was in heaven.
Our trip back home was another thing altogether. Of course, the winter weather conditions caused several accidents and periodic slow-downs throughout the 11 hour drive back to North Carolina. Thankfully though, the wintery postcard scenes more than made up for the crazy traffic.
I now have a more realistic understanding of what it takes to get this amazing specialty bread to your table. While this was a relatively short trip (about 1200 miles) from North Carolina to New Jersey and back, our bread also ships with third party trucking companies, UPS, USPS and FedEx, all over the United States, and in all sorts of weather. It’s extra important that our bread successfully gets to its destination. With most products there are a handful of alternatives, but many of our customers don’t have even one alternative option! We are so grateful that we can serve our company in this capacity, experience a little bit more of the journey our bread makes every day, and bring this simple need to you.
Sandy K Workman
SK Director of Brand Development