Swedish bakery has new home in the South Valley

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A popular bakery company is up and running, with big plans for the future. (KFSN)

A popular bakery company is up and running, with big plans for the future. Svenhard's Swedish Bakery made the move from the Bay Area to the South Valley two months ago, and while the change wasn't easy, the company is excited about what they can now do in their Exeter location.

Losing 1,080 people during this move wasn't easy, but the people that have been with this company for a long time said the new hires here are a good, quality, group.

There are lots of loud sounds inside Svenhard's Bakery, but the smells are pretty sweet. "It's a great smell, it's nice and sweet and it changes too. Because it goes from cinnamon to strawberry to pineapple to cheese to lemon," said Erik Ybarra, Svenhard's line worker.

Also sweet-- this is the last day of Ybarra's probation period, meaning his benefits kick in. From Tulare, he's one of 160 local hires being trained by some of the veterans who came over from the original Oakland location. Guys like Tommy Hampton, who made the move to the Central Valley after forty plus years with the company in the Bay Area. "They have an opportunity here to have a career, that their families can have a better life. That's what we're all about. The rolls are secondary."

As for the rolls, Hampton said they don't make what they wouldn't eat themselves.

The company has come a long way from its humble Swedish roots, now selling in every state. But they're looking to further penetrate the market, and Chief Operating Officer David Kunkel said they just couldn't do that anymore in Oakland. "We have room to grow now, and we were pretty much at capacity where we were."

Kunkel said they hope to bring back some of the popular but discontinued items-- like hot cross buns, strudels, and coffee cakes. But whatever they make, they'll be baked right there in Exeter. "Turn over the package and it says on the bottom of the package that the product is made in Exeter. And we made sure that we had that ready to go when we hit Exeter because we're proud to be here, and we want everybody that buys our product nationwide to know where we're making our product," said Kunkel.

Kunkel said they are still taking applications.

In the coming months, they're going to continue to bring new equipment into the plant to help their employees and the products they make.
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