April 30. 2012 9:00AM

Josh Mertens, Vice President of Made In Milwaukee Inc.

Coffee Break

  

Josh Mertens    


Vice president
Made In Milwaukee Inc. (d.b.a. Wild Flour Bakery)


2800 W. Lincoln Ave., Milwaukee
www.wildflour.net


Industry: Bakery-retail/wholesale
Number of employees:
40
Family:
Fiancé, Alayna Vicary. Parents, Greg and Dolly Mertens.

 

What was the smartest thing your company did in the past year?

“Getting back to our grass roots by expanding our presence at area farmer’s markets. It has helped us get face-to-face with customers.”

What’s new at your company?

“We are opening our fifth location in the former Nokomis Bakery in East Troy. We will be reintroducing 14 organic and wheat alternative breads to be distributed to our existing Wild Flour locations, area grocery store and farmer’s markets.”

Do you plan to hire any additional staff or make any significant capital investments in your company in the next year?

“Yes, we will be hiring additional staff to produce the new line of products as well as personnel for the new café in East Troy.”

What will be your company’s main challenges in the next year?

“Getting our current wholesale customers on board with the new product and to manage a new location.”

What’s the hottest trend in your industry?

“We are creating gluten free breads and breads using ancient grains, which are both major trends in the marketplace.”

Do you have a business mantra?

“Our motto is ‘Go Local, Go Green, Go Wild.’ We ‘Go Local’ by buying local products and services whenever possible. We ‘Go Green’ by using delivery vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas, and composting food waste. We ‘Go Wild’ by supporting community organizations such as Milwaukee River Keepers.”

From a business standpoint, who do you look up to?

“Will Allen of Growing Power. He is a hard working innovator who believes in sustainability. He is a true pioneer.”
    
What was the best advice you ever received?

“A chef once told me, ‘The line cook is thinking of today, the sous chef is thinking about next week and the executive chef is thinking about next year.’ This has helped me stay focused on the bigger picture.”

What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you in your career?

“Once while receiving a flour delivery at our receiving door, a pigeon flew into the bakery. I swiftly scooped the pigeon with my bare hands and released it to safety. That was pretty funny.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“My fiance and I enjoy gardening, canoeing, camping, cooking and playing board games.”
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