There are many businesses claiming to combine craft tradition with a modern approach, but as far as the family bakery of the Glaabs is concerned, these two qualities are neither mutually exclusive nor just empty words. Since master baker Anton Glaab founded his own bakery in the Bavarian city of Schwandorf (between Nuremberg and Munich) in 1949, the small craft business has been run by one and the same family – that is to say, for almost seven decades. During all those years, the Glaabs have jointly taken it one step at a time. They have always managed to interpret their traditional trade in a modern fashion and have kept evolving with great diligence and even more creativity. . Evolving into the future as a close-knit family.
In the case of the Glaabs, this works as follows: Christian Glaab is in charge of the bakehouse, his wife Marion runs the kitchen, their son Benedikt takes care of the marketing activities and Benedikt’s wife Daniela manages the office. “Four minds, four opinions“, says Christian, the father and owner. “This is not always easy but it has certainly helped us progress.“ Then he says with a smile: “Most of the time it is really lovely to have the privilege of working together as a family.“ And the Glaabs also number their bakers, confectioners, sales assistants and trainees among this family. Their team comprises a total of eleven people.
Anyone stopping by the Schwandorf bakehouse bistro oroffice will be struck by the strong sense of family and team spirit to be found there – as well as traditional craftsmanshipin combination with a modern business concept: Delicious breakfast creations are just as much part of their repertoire as the daily lunch specials. As early as 2012, the Glaabs also launched an online shop named “bread box" which sends bread, pastries, coffee beans and the like by mail directly to the customer.. And this offer is well received, even abroad for the bakers from Schwandorf ship their delicacies anywhere in the world. In 2014, the family business even received the Future Award of the district of Schwandorf for its “bread box“.
We get to see the result of our work immediately and receive direct feedback from our customers when they sample our pastries and obviously enjoy them.
„Erlebe Brot“ (“experience bread“) – such is the motto of Glaab’s organic bakery. The Bavarians have made this experience available on the internet, too. Besides, the bakers from the Upper Palatinate are very active in the social media. However, the Glaabs still prefer direct personal contact with their customers to all other forms of communication. “After all, this is what distinguishes our craft“, says master baker Christian. “We get to see the result of our work immediately and receive direct feedback from our customers when they sample our pastries and obviously enjoy them.“
Just what is it that makes this family bakery so special? “What sets us apart is that we have been awarded a ,Naturland’ as well as an ’Ökoqualität Bayern’ certification“, says the 47-year-old owner. In other words: Whenthe bakers at Glaab’s work the dough, they dispense with chemically, synthetically or genetically modified ingredients. And colourants, preservatives, flavour enhancers, pre- or ready mixes are taboo for the Glaabs anyway. By implication, this means that whatever the family bakers from Schwandorf put in their bread, comes from nature – and from the region. Christian Glaab calls this “baking in a modern and natural way“.
Another factor which contributes to the sustainability of their baking philosophy is respect for the tradition of the baking craft. This includes family recipes steadily improved over the years, coupled with numerous craft secrets. Christian Glaab jealously guards these secrets and passes them on to his apprentices only. Another thing that the master baker says is visibly proud of: “Most of our employees are qualified specialists and we can safely say that we continue to employ most of them once they have successfully completed their training.“ For their merits, the family bakery has been granted the Honorary Award for the State of Bavaria – for the fourth time in a row.
In any case, business for the people from Schwandorf is doing very well. During a two-year renovation period, they enlarged the former bakery and turned it into a small café. In this way, the family bakery has been able to face up to a development that Christian Glaab and many others consider “deplorable“: the fact that more and more traditional bakeries go out of business because of the fierce competion from discount stores and convenience bakery products. Of course, it is up to the consumer whether he prefers cheap supermarket rolls to the freshly baked bread from an artisan bakery, Glaab clarifies, but then he goes on to say: “The difference is easy to explain. It lies in the excellent quality and individuality of the baked goods that only craft bakeries can provide. We do our utmost to supply the same high quality each and every day and – by means of taste and aroma – make customers understand the difference between freshly-baked artisan products and industrial products from a baking factory.“
But how do you remain successful exercising a traditional craft as a family business? Master baker Glaab believes that the quality of the bakery products alone is no longer sufficient. “You need endurance and the willingness to work hard for your convictions.“ Without a viable concept and skilful marketing, even a bakery is hardly competitive today. “You have to consider what your bakery stands for“, explains Glaab who even as a young boy used to sneak into his granddad Anton’s bakehouse. He began his apprenticeship in 1987 and took over the bakery from his grandfather in 1993. , The Glaabs have invested their business with its own identity: Their bakery stands for tradition, regional origin and cosmopolitanism – and above all for close family ties.