The First Generation of Berlin Natural Bakery: John
I tried to find a picture of my Grandpa Amish but they aren't exactly known for their love of photos so this was about the earliest photo I could find of him.
These are my grandparents, John & Marie. They are the first generation owners of Berlin Natural Bakery located in my hometown of Berlin, Ohio. More specifically though, it was my Grandpa who would primarily be our first generation representative so let me tell you a little about him.
This man was a powerhouse. He was born and raised old order Amish and he did some incredible things with his life. He was a musician, a debater, a mentor, a leader and more. He was the calm in the face of adversity and he always had a corny joke or two up his sleeve that came with his signature grin. He was a visionary in business - a creator, a dreamer. He saw potential and opportunity wherever he looked.
My Mom and my Grandpa acquired Berlin Natural Bakery in 1997 from the original owners/dreamers, Howard & Irene Graves who's main priority was for us to keep our standards high in all aspects of the bakery and to do our best to make our products available to people nationwide who need them.
The 2nd Generation of Berlin Natural Bakery: Joy
This is my Mom, Joy. She has been a part of Berlin Natural Bakery since our family acquired it and let me tell you something, she has waged war for it in a way I can barely even put into words but let me start by telling you a bit about who she is.
My Mom is a fighter. She has fought and conquered all her life and although it's been hard she has seen major victory and breakthrough and understanding that I am sure she would agree, was well worth the fight.
She is a also a visionary like my Grandpa but in a different way. She looks at people, at situations, at conflicts and at critical opportunities not as they are - but as what they could be. I believe this is one of her greatest strengths and the reason there are countless people out there that credit her with changing the course of their lives.
My Mom has told me more than once that her driving force is to find the truth of a matter because in that - there is freedom. And honestly, between you and me, she couldn't stop herself from speaking or seeking out the truth if she tried!
She has told me more than once that when we took over the bakery that she felt this intense calling to earn the right to run/own it. She has fought for it and she has sacrificed for it. She has spent an enormous amount of energy to educate people on it. She has never compromised or cut corners with it. She has upheld her commitment to Howard and Irene and she has run, grown and nurtured Berlin Natural Bakery with a deep rooted love. She is my role model.
The 3rd Generation of Berlin Natural Bakery: Nicole
So that smile-y girl there is me, sitting next to my twin brother Nicholas. Yes, we are Nick and Nicole and although we get along, I wouldn't say we have that intense mental connection that is supposedly common with twins but I will say that as we've grown up, we've become very good friends, for which I am very grateful.
Nick has very recently returned to Berlin, Ohio AND to the bakery and has been a solid pillar of strength for our packaging department and for me. Who knows what the future holds for him but I am beyond grateful to be working and growing with him!
Enough about him though - this is about me!
So, I grew up with Berlin Natural Bakery. In fact, I spent most of my childhood right up the street from it. I remember working there in the summers when I was in high school and competing with the characters who worked there on the bread slicers while listening to throwback 80s hits and just having fun while working hard.
I remember a few of the wars my Mom fought including the FDA labeling our Spelt products as "wheat" even though our German Spelt isn't crossbred like domestic Spelt.
Actually, beyond anything I remember watching my Mom. I studied my Mom endlessly. I watched as she navigated the business world - a mostly male business world, especially in our corner of the woods - with a finesse and flair that was captivating. I wanted to be just like her. I still do even though she's been telling me to raise my standards!
I have been working closely with Berlin Natural Bakery for the last few years and when I first started, my Mom told me that before I can make any decisions that I need to get to know everything there is to know about who we are. So I set out to do exactly that - learn who we are, our processes, why we do what we do, why we don't do things other people do and where we've been.
I started down that path (and I continue down it to this day) but what I truly got to know better than anything else - is you. I heard your stories firsthand. I read your reviews and your emails and your comments on Facebook. And honestly? I have enjoyed it so much I didn't even realize that I was studying you! This part has truly been an honor.
I clearly come from a heritage that is strong and powerful and rooted in the truth and with that as my foundation - I truly want to help take Berlin Natural Bakery to the next level by serving you. It is my desire to continue this legacy of honor and excellence that Berlin Natural Bakery has forged and to do everything in my power to uphold our traditions and practices even as we continue to grow.
On behalf of my Grandpa, my Mother, myself and my brother, I want to thank you for journeying with us, partnering with us, sharing your stories with us and for helping us grow.
We think we're pretty awesome but we're nothing compared to you!
Proud to be the 3rd Generation of Berlin Natural