A fateful Uber ride boosts business at struggling West Lake bakery

Great Harvest Bread Company. (KXAN Photo)
Great Harvest Bread Company. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — When construction started in front of the Great Harvest Bread Company in West Lake Hills, owner Stewart Dickson immediately noticed a difference in the number of customers coming through his doors.

Dickson said sales at his bakery have been cut in half for the past two months. With business down, Dickson decided to drive for Uber to make extra money.

In most Uber rides, conversations can sometimes reveal a lot about the driver or even the passenger. On one particular ride, Dickson said he and the passenger talked about his struggling business.

“He said, ‘Hey I do a little social media stuff, and I was wondering would you object to me putting a little story reaching out to the community and see if we can show you a little love after that construction?'” said Dickson. “And I said, ‘No that’d be great. What could it hurt?'”

That same day, Great Harvest Bread Company saw an immediate uptick in business. A couple of days later there were so many customers that the bakery sold out of goods by 2 p.m.

That Uber passenger turned out to be Cord Shiflet, a prominent real-estate agent in the Austin area. He has a few friends on social media. His post encouraging people to check out Great Harvest Bread Company was shared 2,000 times.

“It’s been heartwarming,” said Dickson. “I’ve been touched by what’s happened.”

To keep up with demand, Dickson said he’s doubled production and he’s hopeful the spurt in sales will make up for his losses in June and July.

Construction is still going on in the Westwood Shopping Center in West Lake, but the work in front of Dickson’s store just wrapped up.

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