Grana Bread back at City Markets |

Grana Bread back at City Markets

Tim Mutrie

Locally baked Grana Bread returned to City Markets in Aspen, El Jebel and Carbondale Monday, ending a five-week dispute between the bakery and grocery store chain.

A falling out between the stores and the bakery about five weeks ago resulted in the disappearance of the popular bread from City Market shelves.

“We were able to sit down and talk – it seemed the best thing to do – and we were able to iron out our differences and communicate a little better,” said John Smollen, who owns the Basalt-based Grana Bread along with his wife. “I think because we’ve opened a few more lines of communication, it gives us a better way to resolve future differences.”

Smollen said he and John Hailey, manager of City Market in Aspen, worked out a resolution to return the bread to the supermarket chain’s three valley stores on Saturday.

“We’re glad to have them back, we’re glad to be past it, and we’re glad to get on with business,” said Hailey. “We were just able to work everything out and everything’s back to normal.”

The dispute between City Market and Grana Bread centered around delivery issues, though Smollen and City Market district manager Tom Bell offered differing versions of the events which led to the falling out and subsequent discontinuation of bread deliveries to the stores.

“Our relationship with City Market has never been bad, we just never communicated as well as we should have at times,” Smollen said. “Now I think we can communicate better, and hopefully they’re satisfied with us.”

Smollen said the dispute with City Market was a setback for his business, but one the company was able to weather.

“It’s something you have to live through being a small-business owner – you’ve got to deal with it,” he said. “That’s what small business is all about – learning – you don’t go into it thinking you have all the answers.”

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