LOVELAND — Ovens were cranked up, packaging machines were whirring, and the smell of baked goods was in the air Wednesday as the team at Simply Delicious Inc., the natural foods company that does business as Bobo’s Oat Bars, celebrated the opening of its giant new bakery in Loveland.
The new 123,000-square-foot operation at 4501 Viking Way in an industrial section of the Centerra development, which Bobo’s CEO TJ McIntyre called a “super bakery,” allowed for the consolidation of the bar maker’s Boulder and Loveland bakery operations, along with its Loveland warehouse.
“This is our very last bakery — I hope,” Bobo’s founder Beryl Stafford said. “This is enormous and way too big for us right now.”
The Loveland bakery, Bobo’s sixth over the course of its nearly two decade existence, can churn out 1 million bars a day at full capacity.
“This facility can do two-and-a-half to three times what the other facilities could do with the same labor force when all of the equipment shows up,” which is expected by late 2022 or early 2023, said Rob Streight, Bobo’s executive vice president of operations.
Bobo’s employs about 160 people. Factory workers earn an average of about $45,000 a year, according to Loveland’s economic-development department.
With the new production capacity, the leadership team at Bobo’s — which started in 2003 with Stafford and her daughter baking in their kitchen in Boulder where the company is headquartered — expects revenues to hit $100 million in the next few years.
Throughout the growth cycle of the company, McIntyre said, Bobo’s has operated with one ironclad rule: “Do not eff with the bar. It’s perfect as it is.”
Stafford, in a prepared statement, said, “It’s truly amazing to think back to when my daughter, Bobo, and I baked that first batch of oat bars in my kitchen. It’s extremely rewarding to see how far we’ve come today as we stay true to that same home baked, handmade quality, only now in 24 ovens.”
The Loveland factory is powered entirely by wind, and Bobo’s has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of the year.
Loveland officials rolled out the red carpet to lure Bobo’s, which was also considering consolidating operations in Johnstown. The Loveland City Council last year approved an economic-development incentive package that waived $300,000 in sales taxes that it would pay on $10 million worth of manufacturing equipment.
“The city of Loveland and all the people involved have been tremendous,” Streight said.
The ultimate decision to move operations to Loveland and the successful buildout of the factory showed “leadership and gumption” on behalf of the Bobo’s team and city officials, Loveland economic development department existing industry manager Jack Hill said.
“Bobo’s is a staple in the natural foods industry,” he said, “and expanding their headquarters here in Loveland puts Loveland on the map.”