I’m convinced that there are ex-offender success stories all around us. You just have to be on the lookout for them.
- It happened to me the other day at Safeway. I was in the bread aisle trying to decide what to buy, when a bold wrapper like I’d never seen before caught my eye. The words “Dave’s Killer Bread” screamed out from the shelf. My first thought was maybe this was made by an ex-offender or maybe it’s just “killer” good. As it turns out, it is both.
First about the bread. The loaf I bought, Powerseed, is all organic, full of fiber, slightly sweet – thanks to the inclusion of three types of juices – and contains countless seeds, a better mixture and more of them than I think I’ve ever seen in commercial bread.
The bread is impressive, but the guy who developed it is even more so. Dave Dahl spent a total of 15 years in four trips to prison for crimes of theft and dealing methamphetamines. Although he was trained in computer aided drafting/machining while incarcerated and thought he would continue that career upon release, the poor food in prison inspired a desire to work in his parent’s bakery business once again, as he had when he was younger.
Dave longed for tasty wholesome bread just like that baked by his father, a Seventh Day Adventist who pioneered sprouted wheat breads and was determined to change the world by encouraging healthy eating through the products he sold at his neighborhood bakery in Portland. That bakery later became NatureBake and was sold to his son, Dave’s brother.
Once released from his last prison stint in late 2004, Dave decided to rejoin the family business with his brother and was put in charge of bread development. The result is Dave’s Killer Bread. The company now makes 17 different types of breads, all organic and mostly low fat and high fiber. The tag line, “Just Say No to Bread on Drugs,” will give you an idea of just how far baker Dave has come.
His bread is sold at stores in Oregon, Washington, California, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Nevada and can also be mail-ordered online at http://www.daveskillerbread.com.
In addition to making great bread, Dave has made it a point to help others like himself. From a handful of employees, the company has grown to about 240 workers, 30 percent of whom are ex-felons.
And my story just shows that there are job leads and ideas in places you’d least expect – like the aisles of a major grocery store. Where are you going to find yours?