Chuckanut Bay Foods, bakers of gourmet cheesecakes and other desserts, recently doubled its production capacity by moving to a new facility in Blaine, Washington. The 20,000-square-foot production facility's new location also improves shipping logistics due to its proximity to key highways.
When Matthew Roth and wife Julie purchased Chuckanut Cheesecake in 2008 with partners David and Sharon Loeppky and Jim and Jean Gibson, it had been in business for over 15 years and was selling cheesecakes to grocery stores and restaurants in the Seattle metro area. The boutique bakery had two employees and approximately $300,000 in sales.
“We rebranded the company as Chuckanut Bay Foods and the main product became Chuckanut Bay Cheesecake -- an all-natural cheesecake with many ingredients from the farms and dairies of the Pacific Northwest,” Roth said. “We featured real ingredients that consumers would know, such as cane sugar (vs. high fructose corn syrup), butter (vs. margarine) and real cream cheese and sour cream.”
The complementary skillsets of the partners have been key to the growth. Roth has a lifetime of experience in sales, marketing and operations of gourmet-food companies. David Loeppky, chief operating officer, brought years of experience in lean operations and production leadership and Jim Gibson became chief financial officer after serving in that role for multiple companies. The company has an average annual growth rate of 25 percent since 2008. It now has 120 employees and sells to over 7,000 stores in the United States and Canada.
Chuckanut Bay Foods makes cheesecake in sizes that range from appetizers to sheet cakes for large groups and catering. The company also creates scratch-made tiramisu and fruitcake. “We produce under our name as well as private label and also have a large set of customers that we are making unique, proprietary desserts for,” Roth said. “These range from cheesecakes to cakes and brownies.”
A factor in Chuckanut Bay Foods gaining national customers was achieving SQF Level 2 certification. “It shows that we are third-party verified to be producing safe, quality food in a top-notch facility,” Roth said. “It requires us to meet full traceability on ingredients and processes. We ensure our products are going out safe and that we are quickly able to react to any issues that may arise.
“We are a small manufacturer for SQF Level 2, but it shows that we are big in how we run our business. We’re also military certified and offer kosher-approved products and a gluten-free certified product line. Yet we’re still small enough to create custom items quickly and in reasonable quantities for many customers.”