Saline Reporter > News

MADE IN MICHIGAN: Flatout Bread a homegrown Saline product making a name nationally

Flatout Bread Inc. was recently honored with Business Enterprise Award from the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce. Owners Mike and Stacey Marsh, center, with the Flatout Bread team.

SALINE — What started out as an Ann Arbor deli has evolved into a business that sells its products throughout the nation.

Flatout, Inc., makers of Flatout Bread, is owned by Mike and Stacey Marsh, who met while attending Michigan State University. Their facility, which opened in 2004, is located in Saline at 1422 Woodland Drive.

After graduation, the marketing majors opened the Yogurt and Sandwich deli, called Y & S.The restaurant was a sort of “upscale Subway” that featured frozen yogurt and make your own sandwich wraps, long before the sandwich wrap craze begun. Little did they know that this would be the beginning of their long and later profitable journey into the food industry.

On one particular day, a man from Northwest Airlines came into the deli and Stacey Marsh randomly asked him who she could speak with to have their food served on Northwest Airline planes. Luckily, he helped get them in touch with the proper people and soon after, they landed a deal with Northwest.They also began catering and opened additional Y & S Delis, with one on the University of Michigan campus. 

Originally, the couple wanted to franchise the restaurant. However their attorney advised them not to unless they expand their supply as the wraps were being made by a small company in Fresno, Calif.

So, the couple set out to learn how to make their own flatbread , which proved to be much more than they expected.

After attending a two-day American Institute of Baking conference in Manhattan, Kansas, where they received their “formal education of the baking world”, they spent about a year researching equipment needed to make their own bread. They eventually found a used equipment broker selling a line that was used to make Tyson Food tortillas. The five semi loads of equipment they purchased took them a year and a half to put together and they still use one of the bakery lines today.

After three years of test baking and trial runs at the deli, they finally settled on a recipe and began selling their bread. Eventually, they were able to land a contract with McDonald’s where their wraps were used in McWraps, which were sold in Canada. They worked with McDonald’s until being politically pushed out by officials who were not pleased that the wraps were not made by McDonald’s, Mike Marsh said.

Soon after, they landed a contract with a number of grocery stores including Meijer and eventually Wal-Mart.

“From there we just kind of exploded all across the country,” Stacey Marsh said. Continued...

Now, Flatout Bread is sold throughout the U.S. in numerous flavors. The company is also undergoing a more than $1.5 million expansion at its Saline facility that includes another bakery line to help keep up with demand. The business now has about 140 employees, a few of those who have been with the company since day one.

“We’ve got a really good group of people here,” he said. “In the beginning there was a handful: our aunts, uncles and parents.”

Currently, the company produces a half million flatbreads a day.

A few years ago, when the state economy was in a downturn and retailers began making a big push to purchase products in Michigan, the couple sat down and tried to figure out how they could help. At that time their biggest ingredient was flour, which they purchased from companies out of North Dakota and Iowa. They decided to try and source their ingredients locally and began purchasing flour from Star of the West Milling Co. in Frankenmuth and soybean oil from Zeeland Farm Services in Zeeland, Mich.

“We really kind of took a look at that whole Michigan piece and ask what else can we do here to keep our business at home?” she said.

In addition, the business’s photography, graphics and trinkets are made by a marketing team housed in Chicago, to keep it as close as possible.

For more information on Flatout, Inc. visit www.flatoutbread.com.
SALINE — What started out as an Ann Arbor deli has evolved into a business that sells its products throughout the nation.

Flatout, Inc., makers of Flatout Bread, is owned by Mike and Stacey Marsh, who met while attending Michigan State University. Their facility, which opened in 2004, is located in Saline at 1422 Woodland Drive.

After graduation, the marketing majors opened the Yogurt and Sandwich deli, called Y & S.The restaurant was a sort of “upscale Subway” that featured frozen yogurt and make your own sandwich wraps, long before the sandwich wrap craze begun. Little did they know that this would be the beginning of their long and later profitable journey into the food industry.

On one particular day, a man from Northwest Airlines came into the deli and Stacey Marsh randomly asked him who she could speak with to have their food served on Northwest Airline planes. Luckily, he helped get them in touch with the proper people and soon after, they landed a deal with Northwest.They also began catering and opened additional Y & S Delis, with one on the University of Michigan campus. 

Originally, the couple wanted to franchise the restaurant. However their attorney advised them not to unless they expand their supply as the wraps were being made by a small company in Fresno, Calif.

So, the couple set out to learn how to make their own flatbread , which proved to be much more than they expected.

After attending a two-day American Institute of Baking conference in Manhattan, Kansas, where they received their “formal education of the baking world”, they spent about a year researching equipment needed to make their own bread. They eventually found a used equipment broker selling a line that was used to make Tyson Food tortillas. The five semi loads of equipment they purchased took them a year and a half to put together and they still use one of the bakery lines today.

After three years of test baking and trial runs at the deli, they finally settled on a recipe and began selling their bread. Eventually, they were able to land a contract with McDonald’s where their wraps were used in McWraps, which were sold in Canada. They worked with McDonald’s until being politically pushed out by officials who were not pleased that the wraps were not made by McDonald’s, Mike Marsh said.

Soon after, they landed a contract with a number of grocery stores including Meijer and eventually Wal-Mart.

“From there we just kind of exploded all across the country,” Stacey Marsh said.

Now, Flatout Bread is sold throughout the U.S. in numerous flavors. The company is also undergoing a more than $1.5 million expansion at its Saline facility that includes another bakery line to help keep up with demand. The business now has about 140 employees, a few of those who have been with the company since day one.

“We’ve got a really good group of people here,” he said. “In the beginning there was a handful: our aunts, uncles and parents.”

Currently, the company produces a half million flatbreads a day.

A few years ago, when the state economy was in a downturn and retailers began making a big push to purchase products in Michigan, the couple sat down and tried to figure out how they could help. At that time their biggest ingredient was flour, which they purchased from companies out of North Dakota and Iowa. They decided to try and source their ingredients locally and began purchasing flour from Star of the West Milling Co. in Frankenmuth and soybean oil from Zeeland Farm Services in Zeeland, Mich.

“We really kind of took a look at that whole Michigan piece and ask what else can we do here to keep our business at home?” she said.

In addition, the business’s photography, graphics and trinkets are made by a marketing team housed in Chicago, to keep it as close as possible.

For more information on Flatout, Inc. visit www.flatoutbread.com.

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