James Worthington: perfecting the family recipe.

Author:Haraldsen, Tom
Position::Around Utah: Spotlight - Profile

Man shall not live by bread alone, as the saying goes, but for members of one Utah family, bread's been a pretty good way of life.

James Worthington is the CEO of Kneaders Bakery & Cafe, the Orem-based company that has grown from a single cafe that opened just before Christmas 20 years ago into a 55-store franchise with cafes in six states. Like his parents, founders Gary and Colleen Worthington, and many of his siblings, he's watched the Kneaders success story continue to rise like a plump ball of dough waiting to be baked.

"I was a senior in high school when Mom and Dad opened that first store," he recalls. "My parents had kind of started a second career once Dad sold the construction business he'd owned. They bought a Subway sandwich franchise in north Orem and we all stayed busy helping run that, particularly on BYU football game days. But they got bored, didn't like having to have a store open on Sundays, and began tossing around the idea of developing their own business."

So Kneaders was born, with Gary handling the construction and design, Colleen continuing to handle the books and all the kids helping out in every imaginable way.

"We washed dishes, made sandwiches-pretty much everything to do with the business," Worthington says. "We'd get up early to bake, go to school, and come back in the afternoons. That experience has really proven helpful as we've franchised the concept, because we know first-hand how to help operators with any challenges or problems they have."

In 2000, a second store was opened in Provo. The third store later opened in Midvale and Worthington became the company's first franchisee, a position he held until moving to the corporate office in 2007.

As the Kneaders' reputation continued to grow, the company began to slowly evolve.


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