the bakery

Dear Valued Customers,

The Pearl Bakery family truly cherishes the relationships we have made over the last 22 years of being in business.  We know it is our customers’ pursuit of the best products available that keeps us in business.  We love people that seek out high quality food.

It is out of a respect for our customers that we feel an obligation to disclose the changes that have been taking place.  We know you care about the food you put in your body and we want to assure you, we certainly do as well.  That despite all the noticeable change, our adherence to our core values is unwavering.

Specifically, two major points of transition have occurred this year:  Pearl Bakery experienced a transfer of ownership, and the lease for our Pearl District retail shop at 102 NW 9th Ave. came up for renewal.

Hopefully customers will be reassured to know ownership did not transfer out of the family that has built and grown Pearl Bakery since its inception.  In July, Eric and Mary Lester sold the company to me, their youngest son, Jared Lester.  Many of you may already know me, but for those that do not, let me introduce myself.

As early as high school I was working graveyard shifts learning the craft of baking from the acclaimed bakers that helped garner Pearl Bakery’s national recognition.  My parents encouraged me to go to college and I did, obtaining a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Oregon State.    After college, I was presented with many options.  The decision to return to the bakery was made easy due to my love of baking.  I forced my father to treat me like any other employee and I started at an entry level position in viennoiserie.  Overtime I worked hard to learn all facets of the company and to gain the respect of the heart of Pearl Bakery, our amazing team.

I am very proud to brag about Pearl’s loyal team that has over a 100 years of combined Pearl Bakery experience;  having several employees that have been with us for more than a decade.  We also maintain very strong relationships with our vendors, sourcing the same high quality ingredients that we have used since our formulas and recipes were first developed.  We know we are part of a larger community and we do everything we can to keep it strong.

While we hoped you could not tell we transferred ownership, we know you have noticed the changes triggered by the lease renewal.  Due to increased costs in the area, we chose to consolidate all production to our southeast location at 898 SE Stark St; a location I designed that we have been baking in for the last 5 years.  I helped build the original brick oven when I was 10 years old and it was an emotional experience for me to help demolish it as an adult.  Relocating our production and reducing our square footage was not an easy decision, but one every business that leases must grapple with at some point or another.

But challenges bring strength.  A lesson I continue to learn and embrace having recently begun my most challenging endeavor yet, fatherhood.  With a 3 year old daughter, Lucy, and 1 year old daughter, Lila, I have a renewed respect for being a responsible leader, a mentor, an environmental steward, and an example of how Portlanders run small businesses.

Thank you all!  Pearl Bakery is incredibly excited about sharing the next 22 years with Portland!

-Jared Lester, President