The sweet smells of cinnamon and freshly baked bread flow through a quiet industrial area south of Lenexa.
Hidden between warehouses and commercial logistics centers south of I-435, Three Bears Bakery and BBQ it has a small shop window with a window overlooking a commercial kitchen.
And the hard work behind the glass is the team of husband and wife Jabin and Natalie Olds, who are busy making ovens for dozens of customers.
Since launching their Keto-compatible bakery six months ago amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the old men say the business has exploded. Here is their story.
It is born of a weight loss journey
Located at 13723 W. 108th St., Three Bears Bakery & BBQ was born out of an idea that old people said they had when they went they were both struggling to lose weight.
In 2017, the couple spent two hours a day six days a week in the gym. But they could not lift the weight.
When a friend introduced them the Keto diet – a program that usually emphasizes low-carb, high-fat foods – when cooking homemade cheese tacos shells, they tried it for themselves.
Four weeks later, the old men say they had lost about 20 pounds and were stuck. Ultimately, they say everyone has lost almost £ 100 since he went to Keto.
The irony was not lost on Jabin.
Bread is a no in the Keto diet. But, as an oven scientist, he literally depended on bread for his livelihood.
For 15 years, after graduating with a bakery science and management degree from Kansas State University, Jabin worked for major bakery brands such as Sara Lee and Pepperidge Farms, and also helped mom stores trying to expand. -se.
But he says the weight loss of his and Natalie’s was so extraordinary that his family and friends became interested in what they ate.
Therefore, the couple started a side concert in February 2019 to bake and sell low carb carbohydrate products that were compatible with Keto in their home kitchen in Olathe.
During the two hours following the launch of a Facebook page that month, 30 orders from strangers had entered.
“We looked at each other and said,‘ How are we going to do that? Jabin said laughing.
After losing his full-time job that same year, Jabin said he almost had a panic attack. Jabin’s job had been their main source of income and they had a baby to feed.
“Luckily, we were at my parents’ house and we all prayed for it, ”Jabin said. “It simply came to our notice then. Everything seems to be the way God wants us to go. ”
Natalie added that the couple had been considering starting their own business for years before Jabin was fired.
“It simply came to our notice then. And now we had a chance to do it. That is why we have been praying and now we have been literally stripped until this is our only option. Why are we afraid? She said.
“It just exploded”
Jabin took money out of his 401k to get it for six months. And they threw the business out of their home. Five weeks later, they were licensed and ready to operate.
“It just exploded,” Jabin said.
Lenexa residents may have seen the couple at the Lenexa Farmers Market for the past two summers. That’s when they launched their commercial operation outside the incubator kitchen on the K-State campus in Olathe.
They watched as their concept quickly came to an end, selling out within two hours several Saturdays at the farmers market.
The old men say they have continued to grow during the pandemic, with a 70% increase in revenue.
They have shipped to 47 states in the United States and at least 5,000 customers, some of whom make a stop at Lenexa from other states just to visit their store.
This growth allowed them to open their commercial kitchen at Lenexa in early January.
Still, this meteoric rise, Jabin says, belies the work and effort he and Natalie have made to open Three Bears.
“This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life,” Jabin said. “It was a very stressful time.”
Commitment to a menu suitable for ketos
When they first launched the business, the menu had only five items: sandwich bread, a couple of small sweet cakes, and a cookie.
As of this year’s Father’s Day, his menu had grown to 74 different items, from bread, cakes, pancakes, rolls, cookies, brownies, ice cream sandwiches, gingerbread and jelly buns.
They also grow the barbecue part, with new sauces and condiments. Jabin hopes to add sides and finally smoked meats to the menu.
Their personalized pizza bread is available at The Social Bar & Grill, while their BBQ sauce, pudding cups and a variety of breads can be tried at Harley’s Hideaway in Shawnee.
The old men say the menu of baked goods changes quite often, but throughout their business growth, Jabin and Natalie maintained their commitment to a Keto-friendly, low-carb, sugar-free, and soy-free menu.
Everything except their breads is also gluten free.
Instead of sugar, they use erythritol or allulose, which is particularly beneficial for diabetic clients who want to avoid an increase in their glycemic index.
“We won’t get it if we don’t eat it,” Natalie said. “We’re related to the lifestyle we live in and if I do something I won’t eat, I can’t make sure it’s perfect.”
His four-year-old son, Perry, the third “little bear” who inspired the name of his business, is also involved in baking things, such as decorating cupcakes.
Natalie said she is proud of her accomplishments and her ability to be her own bosses.
“I’m doing exactly what I wanted to be in third grade: the boss,” he said. “I think we’re both still surprised when we walk in every day and they say,‘ Wait, we did. And we’re still doing it. “
“It was worth it,” Jabin added. “This is ours.”
Three Bears Bakery & BBQ joins Lenexa’s Chamber of Commerce and will host a formal ribbon cutting on Wednesday, August 25th.
Showcase hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.