Made in Michigan - Cole's Quality Foods | News
MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - Overlooking Muskegon Lake is the bakery that in the early 1970's forever changed the freezer aisle.
"We are Cole's Quality Foods. We have been in the baking business since 1943. We were the first to invent the frozen garlic bread category," says Bruce Kratt, Sr. Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Coles.
Muskegon's Cole's Quality Foods is the only national frozen garlic bread brand that's still family-owned. Kratt says it's a 'David vs. Goliath-type' story - the Michigan company with just over 100 employees taking on brands baked by huge food conglomerates. "We ship to California, to Alaska, to New England, and all around the United States," says Kratt.
With the one pound loaf-line in high gear, the Muskegon workers can bake more than 80,000 loafs a day.
Cole's founder L.Carroll Cole initially focused on fresh bread. The frozen garlic bread invention put Cole's on a different course. Products now include bread sticks, texas toast, and sliced garlic toast, with new products are under consideration.
"Gluten-free is something that we are looking at; packaging innovations are something that we are looking at; healthier living items are something that we are looking at," explains Kratt.
One thing is not being looked at by Cole's management - moving away from Michigan.
"We are not leaving Muskegon, Muskegon County and the state of Michigan. We have an incredible work force with incredible attention to detail. We have great bakers here in Muskegon who have been with us for a long, long time."
Other Michigan companies benefit from Cole's success. Every year, Cole's buys 15 million tons of flower from King Milling in Lowell. In Grand Rapids, Caraustar makes the Texas Toast boxes and Pratt Industries makes the shipping boxes.