Carrie Rengers

Delano Hometown Bakery lands two contracts to substantially grow (+video)

The newly rebranded Delano Hometown Bakery is poised for a major growth spurt thanks to two new contracts with Dillons and GreenAcres Market.

The company, which Kelly and Carol Dumford started in 1987 and is perhaps best known for its stone hearth rustic bread that Larkspur serves, currently is in eight Dillons stores around Wichita.

With the new contract, it will be in 70 Dillons stores across three states, including 20 in the Wichita area.

With the GreenAcres contract, which is for 15 products exclusive to the chain, Delano Hometown Bakery will be in all eight of its stores in three states.

“The possibilities are endless now,” says Brant Dumford, Kelly Dumford’s son. “It’s huge for us.”

The company currently does $500,000 a year in gross sales.

Brant Dumford expects to jump to $750,000 next year and be at $4 million a year within five years.

“This business is just now becoming as profitable as it should have been 30 years ago,” he says.

“This is the first time Delano’s gone outside the Wichita market.”

Brant Dumford, who graduated from Southern Illinois University with a master’s degree in public health and from Friends University with an MBA, is part of the reason for the company’s growth.

His father, he says, has always been the workhorse behind the business.

“That’s the only reason we’re still here,” Dumford says of his dad. “Blood, sweat and tears.”

Kelly and Carol Dumford and a business partner, who is no longer with the company, started with 15 pans and a 1930s Hobart mixer that came from the Allis Hotel before it was demolished.

They took over an old bakery on West Douglas in Delano and would stay up all Friday night baking and then sell at the Farm & Art Market the next day.

Kelly Dumford’s family had Wheatland Pantry, a kitchen supply business, and he says he spent part of his time trying to convince people to make their own bread with Wheatland’s equipment.

People wanted his bread instead, though.

“It’s been ups and downs and a lot of work,” Kelly Dumford says.

The Old Mill Tasty Shop was the first restaurant to use the company’s bread. There have been 138 restaurants on the wholesale side of the business over the years.

Then 11 years ago, an employee suggested the company try to sell through Dillons stores.

“We have really great employees,” Brant Dumford says. “We kind of grew from there.”

As his father remained focused on the day-to-day production of the bread – working anywhere from 10 to 16 hours a day – Brant Dumford has been free to explore ways to grow the business “and see if we couldn’t scale this business to a better level,” he says.

“Brant had both the personality and the time,” Kelly Dumford says.

“So now we have a brain and workhorse,” Brant Dumford says.

Until now, selling within Dillons stores has been laborious and expensive.

The company has had a driver who delivered individual loaves to Dillons stores, maybe a dozen at a time.

“It’s extremely expensive,” Brant Dumford says.

Now, the company’s bread will be boxed and sent to a Dillons distribution center in Hutchinson, and Dillons will take it from there.

“We plan on saving about $45,000 a year with this move,” Brant Dumford says.

The company has made other changes as well.

For instance, instead of buying its flour from a wholesale food business, the company now buys directly from Stafford County Flour Mills and pays $10.25 a bag instead of $14.50.

Brant Dumford says Emprise Bank helped the company get an SBA loan for a new piece of equipment that will allow a worker to make 1,500 to 2,500 loaves a day instead of 700 or 800.

He calls it “one of the great things we were able to do.”

“So Emprise Bank has been huge for us.”

The Dumfords plan to expand their bread varieties from the 56 skews the company has now.

“We’re wanting to put in a bun line,” Brant Dumford says. “A premium hamburger bun.”

He’s thinking of cheddar and jalapeno, chive and sesame buns.

Being in so many new stores won’t be an automatic win for the Dumfords, though.

Kelly Dumford says that more than 70 percent of Dillons’ bread sales are from white – not specialty – bread.

“We’re all fighting over this little 30 percent,” he says.

Still, Brant Dumford says he should have been more aggressive pursuing Dillons previously.

“We’ve come to the very brink,” Brant Dumford says of tough times. “Like, $1 away from being broke, and we survived.”

Now, they’re thinking bigger, literally and figuratively. The Dumfords say they’re going to need to upgrade from the 6,000 square feet they have at 1025 W. 29th St. N.

Though they say they can easily add more shifts to the eight or so hours of daily production the business runs, the Dumfords say they still need more room, especially since they plan to continue growing.

“We see opportunity all over the place,” Kelly Dumford says.

He sees a future opportunity for himself, too.

“Once we get to a million a year, I quit,” Kelly Dumford says. “That’s when I can put on a tie and sit in the front in an air-conditioned office.”

That’s not likely to happen, though, even though it is likely the company will have sales at the million mark soon.

“I guess yeast gets in your blood,” Dumford says.

“This is who I am and what I do.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or crengers@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

Delano Hometown Bakery by the numbers

Employees: 11

Loaves of bread it makes annually: 150,000

Loaves of bread in eight Dillons stores annually: 90,000

Bags of flour the company uses annually: 24,000 50-pound bags

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