Companion Baking Opens Weekend Outlet

Companion owner Josh Allen - Robin Wheeler
Robin Wheeler
Companion owner Josh Allen
Forget the Hostess outlet. Last Friday, St. Louis breadmaster Companion Baking opened its own discount retail operation. Companion Baking Early Bird Outlet sells bread at $2 per pound and pastries at $3.50 per pound -- a 30-50% discount compared to retail prices -- every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to noon.

"We really wanted to maintain a retail presence in the city, especially after shuttering the Central West End location," says owner Josh Allen. (The Clayton and Ladue Companion locations remain open.)

"It is something that I've always wanted to do again. We were open Saturdays for many years at the factory, but the energy that the cafés took up just kept me from getting it resurrected."

Read Gut Check's profile of Josh Allen.

Early Bird Outlet operates out of Companion's Dutchtown South baking facility (4555 Gustine Ave). With the exception of Goshen coffee and bottled water, the outlet sells only a limited amount (between 300 and 500 pounds) of baked goods each day and closes up shop once that has sold out.

"We make 200 different items every day," Allen says. "We'll always have our high-volume offerings -- the baguettes, the rustic loaves -- but there will be a good variety of our other offerings as well, depending on what we have that day."

According to Allen, the size and shape of the overstock may vary, which is why Companion decided to sell products by the pound.

In 2007 Companion was named one of the "Top Ten Places to Get Artisan Bread" by USA Today. Beats day-old powdered donuts any day of the week.

Additional reporting by Robin Wheeler
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