Berlin Natural Bakery – Joy Schrock

“My history is in publishing,” Joy Schrock begins, telling how she entered the business world over thirty years ago. She began her career working with her father and says she “absolutely loved it, gaining really, really good formalized training over the course of the next decade.” Joy’s father, the late John E. Schrock, added other ventures to the family partnership, building a hotel, a restaurant, and a fitness center in their hometown, Berlin, Ohio. When her father asked for her help with the flagging businesses she left publishing behind and set to work, reorganizing and building new teams of employees, finally turning a profit in her third year.

Success came with a heavy price. “I was working seven days a week, nonstop. That’s what those businesses required to be successful,” Joy says. Even though her successful team-building eventually allowed her more leisure time, her father, whom she describes as “very much an entrepreneur” was acquiring more businesses and bringing them to her to “fix them.” It was a cycle that continued “over and over again.”Howard-Graves-Berlin-Natural-Bakery

It was during this time that a man named Howard Graves, the founder and owner of Berlin Natural Bakery, approached Joy and her father wanting them to buy his business. After touring the bakery Joy says she was “intimidated by it” and felt it was “not a good fit.” She and her restaurant baked pies and dinner rolls, not healthy breads. So her answer was “no, absolutely not.”

A year later the subject of Berlin Natural Bakery came up again, this time from Joy’s banker who felt she should take another look at it as a possible acquisition. This time she agreed and the bakery became another business under Joy’s umbrella.

While adding a spa at the fitness center Joy met Anne Bramham from the Bramham Institute and Spa, a specialist in hydrotherapy from West Palm Beach who was training the staff. “She told me I was heading for some trouble.” Joy laughs and adds, “I was, like, invincible. I was very, very successful with everything I was doing. I had a fabulous team, and I was loving it. I was thriving in all of this. ” She gave little thought to the warning signs.

Until “I started to get sick.” Joy spent months seeing doctors and enduring a plethora of tests but without answers; her system was simply “shutting down” and “spiraling out of control.” In desperation she called Anne Bramham. That call led to time at Bramham’s spa in Florida. With orders to come alone and without her cell phone or any other distractions, she set out on a journey that would change her life.

After ten days of cutting-edge, natural therapies the reasons for her health issues became evident. Joy’s eating habits had been an “abusive cycle.” Ten days at the spa left her “ninety percent better and twenty pounds lighter.” It also caused her to rethink her life-style. She describes it as a “crash course in what’s in our food, the chemicals and all the things that really wreak havoc on your system. I was like this new soldier for what’s natural and organic.” She realized that one of her business ventures, The Berlin Natural Bakery was a perfect venue in which to further her new-found vision.Berlin-Natural-Bakery-Berlin-Ohio

“I spent the next year earning the right to own that bakery. This included knowing everything there was to know about the grains used in the flour right down to the parentage of those grains. Words like “spelt” and acronyms like “GMO” became a familiar part of Joy’s new vocabulary. “There were things that I didn’t understand. Why did we stone-grind? Why didn’t we just get bags of flour in? Wouldn’t that be so much easier?” Enter GMOs. Genetically Modified Organisms. Thanks to the bio-tech industry, they have infiltrated most of the world’s food supply. Whereas the spelt used in Berlin Natural Bakery’s products is an heirloom grain pure enough to satisfy even Joy.

More information on GMOs is finally surfacing through the increasing emergence of published articles on the subject. “We are now at that place where people are having so many health issues.” She cites the increase in allergies among children and the sensitivities to gluten. Joy believes the answer lies in the fact that “what you are eating today with wheat is not what your grandmother was eating. They just continue to cross-breed it to increase the gluten strength. That along with what the bio-tech companies have done to our food supply greatly contributes to the various sensitivities and allergies that people are experiencing today with their daily bread. The things that they [bio-tech companies] did to our food supply, now we need to undo that as well as preserve and protect heirloom quality seed.”

With Berlin Natural Bakery now expanding all the way to the west coast, Joy is excited about the future saying that as doors present themselves, Berlin Natural Bakery will keep opening them. The bakery has products in most independent health food stores with a strong presence in Whole Food stores “east of the Mississippi.” On the other side of the river they are “more scattered” but with a very strong presence in northern California. Ordering on-line or by phone is an option with shipping available throughout the country.

Joy sums it up by saying it has “been an amazing journey, the fact that the business I did not want ended up to be the only one that I wanted.” It changed everything when money was no longer her primary motivation. “You need to feel fulfilled. And I believe everyone has a calling.” She stresses that sometimes it takes the hard things in life to help you find that calling; if she had not become ill she would never have headed down the path that now fills her life with purpose.





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