Fargo Breadsmith owner is looking for a buyer to rise to the occasion

Owner Rob Roberts says he figures it's time to start looking for a successor to keep the artisanal bakery going after he hangs up his apron.

Rob Roberts, owner of Breadsmith, is pictured in his south Fargo artisanal bakery Monday, June 13, 2022. Roberts recently put the business up for sale.
Helmut Schmidt / The Forum

FARGO - Rob Roberts isn’t one for loafing around at work, but now that he's looking forward to retirement, he's seeking a buyer for his Breadsmith franchise.

The shop at 1617 32nd Ave. S. is listed as a business opportunity on the Fargo-Moorhead area's Multiple Listing Service . The asking price for the equipment, stock and assets of the artisanal bakery is $149,000, not including costs tied to transferring Breadsmith franchise rights.

The 58-year-old has been in the baking business for 20 years, and on Monday, June 13, said he wants to be sure the business continues once he hangs up his apron.

“I’d like to start looking for the next person to take this over,” he said, leaning back in his swivel chair in his tiny office, just feet away from his ovens, coolers, and pallets piled high with flour and sugar.

“At some point, I need to work on a succession plan and I figure, well, why not now?,” Roberts said.


But this is not a fire sale.

“I definitely want to hang around. I’m not going to just want to lock the door and walk away," he said. “I’m not saying I’m out by Christmas. I’m saying I need to be out by six Christmases from now, five Christmases from now."

Roberts, the face of the local franchise, has a natural salesman’s touch. Before you know it, he’s pitching the chance to grow the brand’s footprint.

“I’m fortunate. I’ve been doing this on a part-time basis for a while now. But it could easily be a full-time job” by adding outlets, Roberts said.

The Fargo Breadsmith store, 1617 32nd Ave. S., is seen Tuesday, June 14, 2022. The Southparke Center artisanal bakery has been listed for sale.
Helmut Schmidt / The Forum

“There’s ways to do it and I’d be happy to discuss it with anyone when the time comes. This market actually (could handle) multiple locations,” he said. “There’s a lot of ways to evolve a business, and I strongly believe a good way to go would be multiple locations in this market. Because there’s room in this market to go where you’re not stepping on anyone else’s toes.”

But again, he returns to spending time with family and relaxing.

“I got the business established. I worked hard on it for many, many years. And the last five or six years, I’ve cut it down to where I’m working mostly part time. Under 30 hours a week,” Roberts said. “To be honest, when I’m that close to retirement, I don’t want to reinvest in it right now.”

Beyond the Breadsmith shop, which is open six days a week, Roberts supplies all of the Hornbacher’s stores and a couple Cash Wise stores with fresh products, too.


He also sells bread and other goods at farmer’s markets in Fargo and Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Jay Nelson, a commercial and investment Realtor at Archer Commercial Real Estate Services, says the business will be a good opportunity for an eager entrepreneur.

“Do you want to get into the bread business?” Nelson said Tuesday, June 14.

Freshly baked breads and desserts are displayed at Breadsmith in south Fargo on Monday, June 13, 2022.
Helmut Schmidt / The Forum

The listing went live on Thursday, June 16, Nelson said.

“He’s had a really successful business. He’s got his retail sales. He’s got his wholesale sales. And then he’s at the farmer’s markets in the summertime,” Nelson said. “Post-COVID, people are tired of their corporate jobs. Someone that doesn’t mind getting up early in the morning and wants to be their own boss, I think they can make a pretty decent living at it. I think that’s exactly what Rob did.”

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