I never liked Provence (the bread store in Nashville, not the region in France… I’m sure it’s lovely). I found them to be a bit pretentious, really… the store I visited never really awed me with their breads and I never got a great vibe there. I just wasn’t impressed.

In a single weekend, Provence changed my mind completely.

One weekend to completely change the mind of an obstinate, ever aging, opinionated man? Impressive, yes, but how did they do it?

They Showed Up At “My” Place

My family adores the Franklin Farmers Market. My wife is a huge foodie, and we’re there every week celebrating the local food and farmers. When we walked around the corner and saw Provence in our world, it made a statement about our shared values in a voice far louder than the marketing text on their website.

They Brought the “A Team”

My wife is a legitimate baker. When she goes to talk bread with someone, she’s thinking about Peter Rinehart, percentage yields over 100%, rise times, etc. She’s not talking “Amish Friendship Bread”, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

As we walked up, we were immediately introduced to Provence’s head baker… the baker himself. Jenn immediately got to talk details, to ask for advice, to learn about some different authors with new perspectives on baking. This was not a company baking up frozen loaves of bread delivered by a foodservice company. This was a bakery, with a guy who knew his stuff deeply and wasn’t afraid to share what he knew.

They Remembered Us

When we got home, Jenn immediately checked them out on Twitter. No later than the next day, Provence had already connected with Jenn and shared further useful information. Again, the lack of pretense, the personal connection, these things make a huge difference.

@lovingtree great to meet such a dedicated customer and serious baker. Please check out www.BBGA.org to network with artisan baker community

The Last Step in the Conversion: Sesame Semolina


No doubt, the bread is pretty tasty, but wasn’t it before? Why didn’t I know that?

How does this translate?

  • Are we making ourselves available in the right places? Are we demonstrating our commitment to the things that are important to our customers?
  • Are we providing access to the right people for every question? Can you get to our experts?
  • Are we connecting to the people who come to us? Are we understanding their particular situations and expertise?
  • Do we make good bread?

Is three out of four good enough?

Tim is the chief innovation and product officer with our parent company LTG, though he used to be CEO here at Rustici Software. If you’re looking for a plainspoken answer to a standards-based question, or to just play an inane game, Tim is your person.