Veteran Owned Small Business!
Fresh Dough Mixes
w/ Bucket of Bread
You have found your new number one go-to brand for the highest quality versatile fresh dough mixes you can get.
Just add lukewarm water, mix, rise, and start creating!
*Tell us about your small business!
Firstly, congratulations! You have found your new number one go-to brand for the highest quality versatile fresh dough mixes you can get on the internet. Just add lukewarm water, mix, rise, and start creating so many different baked goods!
Your newly risen fresh dough lasts up to 2 weeks in the fridge right in the bucket allowing you to make what you want when you want to make it. You’ll end up with about 4 pounds that’s just ready to use without any kneading or additional work or mess. So now, anyone can easily bake Bread, Pizzas, Bagels, Pretzels, Bread Sticks, Doughnuts, Cinnamon Buns, Rolls, Naan, and so much more in just minutes!
Visitors to my site can order online for nationwide delivery or even pick it up locally if they’re in the La Crosse, Wisconsin area. Customers may earn discount reward points that are suitable for future discounts, there is an affiliate program where everyone wins discounts. A fun game for scratch and win. And I even offer free recipes for inspiration. For folks who like to take pictures, I encourage users to post on Instagram using #bucketofbread to possibly win some future contests
I also wanted to use Bucket of Bread as a means to help those in need. So with the creation of this business, I began the ‘Bucket Benefit Program’. Customers may purchase donation buckets online at bucketofbread.com; then my company makes the buckets of dry fresh dough mix and delivers the finished products to the Hunger Task Force of La Crosse (a local food pantry distribution center) directly assisting those in need.
In addition, every purchase helps raise ‘fresh dough’ for good causes. I’ve pledged at least 10% of yearly profits towards charities combating hunger and fighting food insecurity in their mission statement.
*Tell us more about yourself
I was born and raised on a little dirt road in central Iowa. My mom let me join her in the kitchen. She made sure I could cook on my own when I grew up. Some of my best memories of childhood are making noodles with my mom. Eventually, I got interested in sports, the arts, band, and really anything I could experience while in high school. I was probably a middle-of-the-road student for grades. This was probably due to my varied interests and desire to do as much as possible.
After high school, I joined the military and found myself on a new adventure. My first duty station after my initial training was in Iraq driving a fuel truck and working as a petroleum specialist during the Gulf War for Operations Desert Shield and Storm. I eventually ended up in Germany and later Saudi Arabia. I finished my contract and then stayed in Germany as a civilian for a few years.
By 1996 I had come back to the US and joined back up with the military performing various duties and traveling all over the world. In 2003, I was commissioned through Fort Benning’s Officers Candidate School in Georgia as an Ordnance Officer.
I deployed again to Iraq in 2004. In 2007, I married and deployed again in 2010 right after my son was born. I divorced about 5 years later
By 2018, I had retired as a senior captain working as a logistician from my last duty station in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. This is where my next story starts to take off as I move into discovering what it is like being a solopreneur at my company Bucket of Bread LLC making fresh dough mix!
*What were you doing before you started your business?
I retired from the military in 2018. Afterward, I found myself in a financial advisor / associate position for a great company. I really liked being able to help people with this type of work and was pretty good at it according to my mentor; however, I decided to try to get something a little more structured. By the time COVID started putting people in their homes for work, I was easily able to secure an entry-level position at a local credit union processing consumer loans.
In my spare time, I was researching and building Bucket of Bread. It was during a meeting with the CEO who checked in on important anniversaries like my 1 year, that I shared my passion and said I probably wouldn’t be there much longer. I explained the concept and shared the rough design and website information. It was nice to see a leader who supported my honesty and recognized this was going to be something amazing! A few weeks later, I wrote a resignation letter and submitted it. I finished out my time and was able to transition smoothly into creating this business adventure (yes, I do mean adventure).
*What made you want to do this?
Probably like you, I’ve always been an avid cook and baker. For years, I was the primary cook in the house. For charity events, I would always be the bread guy. I had spent years fine-tuning old methods of baking regular bread to suit my needs for other things.
That dream just made me realize I could put all that into a bucket of fresh dough and use it as a platform to help others.
*How did you get started making fresh dough?
Apparently, my mind was working in the background without my knowledge until it was time to let me know. Bucket of Bread LLC is a middle-of-the-night idea, brought on through a 3 a.m. dream. This dream was not visual in any way, it was completely conceptual and really hard to shake. The next day I immediately began researching what was needed.
By the end of the week, I had formed an LLC. Within 6 months I had secured a location and developed partnerships with suppliers. By the 9th month, I had inspections, insurance, and my first farmer market-type event. I’ve just recently had the anniversary of my first year of operations.
*What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day is spent scrubbing email messages, creating some social media commentary or posts about Bucket of Bread, making ordered buckets, shipping them out, or contacting customers for local pickup. I also usually scrub inventories for buckets and ingredients. Then, there is a lot of website maintenance or writing which needs to be done. There are also phone calls and virtual meetings for various topics.
Some days there are also live events where I bring buckets of fresh dough mix and set up a stand like at a farmers market. The typical day usually is about 10-12 hours on average spent on various Bucket of Bread activities.
*Where do you want to end up / what goals do you want to achieve?
The mission of Bucket of Bread is to create socially and environmentally responsible products to enhance the creative juices for every customer which allow the company to give to those less fortunate through a ‘Bucket Benefit Program’ and hefty profit sharing with select charity organizations. As the founder, I look forward to more steady growth at Bucket of Bread.
Some future goals include increasing online sales, hiring employees, and adding additional fresh dough mixes, seasonings, and toppings to the product line. The ultimate goal for Bucket of Bread is to become a common household name synonymous with high quality.
* What are some of the more memorable obstacles that you’ve had to overcome?
My biggest obstacle so far was probably the renovation of the building. Meeting building, health, and safety codes for basic food production standards delayed the desired launch by a couple of months; however, once I passed the inspections, everything worked great. Another big obstacle was moving my website from its original platform into WordPress.
I spent a lot of time learning and countless hours getting it put together just right. I’m still learning a lot in those regards so from that perspective my mind is engaged with new discoveries which are always refreshing.
I’m currently facing the same problem many new and even existing businesses face, how to realistically and economically get people who are interested in my product (and those who don’t even know they are interested yet) to visit my website, make a purchase, love it, share it, and buy again.
*What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Find your local Small Business Development (SBDC). These are typically located at your state universities. The SBDC is an incredible resource. They offer so much to the community of regional entrepreneurs. My SBDC was able to help me with financial projections, operating agreements, sales tax compliance, a business plan, and marketing strategies.
I was also connected with business professors and students at the university. The students did a deep dive into my concept as a learning opportunity, and I was able to see the results. Legal students, with professor oversite, were able to help me process my trademarks and develop the small print for the website. For Veterans, like me, I highly suggest looking into an organization called Bunker Labs.
This non-profit organization is a business incubator that provides Veteran and military spouse entrepreneurs and business owners with co-working space, a local community, a national business network, and targeted support to grow their business. For Veterans not near a major US city, there are virtual meetups. There are many great connections that can be obtained by being selected to partake in this group.
*What is your favorite thing about your business?
Bucket of Bread is a Veteran owned and operated baking ingredient firm that supports charities, values customers, and diligently provides an exceptional product to the masses. People + Profit = A Powerful Purpose. There is a good deed in every bucket. At least 10% of profits made are earmarked for charities, which combat food insecurity and fight hunger.
Customers may also voluntarily donate products at a discounted rate. The bigger this business adventure becomes the larger the impact Bucket of Bread will have on those in need. I’m motivated and passionate about creating this into something bigger than myself. I’m confident that with the help of loyal customers, start-up funding like this grant opportunity, and utilizing guidance from business resources (such as the local office from the Small Business Development Center), America is about to find out about the next best thing since sliced bread.
* When customers shop with you, what do they get?
You’ll receive top-quality fresh dough mixes in a sealed bucket. The ingredients are 100% domestically sourced and include nutrient-rich certified organic whole grains without all the additives or preservatives. When you see and taste what you can so easily make with these mixes, you’ll certainly want more. Every bucket is made from 100% recyclable materials and every sale helps ‘raise dough’ for charities.
So enjoy some guilt-free baking. Feel good about making and using some really great fresh dough while also giving back to those in need.
Veteran Owned & Fresh Dough!
Chris creates ready-to-go fresh buckets of dough mix
All you need to do is add water and you’ll have about 4 pounds of fresh high-quality dough!
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