The story on a bag of Dave’s Killer Bread tells us that Dave is a reformed ex-con, leaving customers to wonder exactly which crime landed him in jail for 15 years. Rest assured, Dave Dahl is not a killer, he just bakes killer-good bread. As a reformed drug addict, his mission is “to make the world a better place, one loaf of bread at a time.” Based in the Portland, Oregon area, Dave’s Killer Bread’s 15 varieties are all organic, made entirely with whole grains, and each loaf is drug free, just like its maker.
Dave was rebellious and depressed growing up, so as an adult he turned to drugs to make himself feel better, forcing him into a life of crime in order to get money for his fix. Dave was arrested eight times and he served four jail sentences for crimes that included armed robbery, burglary, assault, and delivery of a controlled substance. In jail for the fourth time, he hit rock bottom and finally sought help for his drug addiction and depression, and he was able to turn his life around.
Dave’s father, James Dahl, was a pioneer of healthy breads in Portland, Oregon. His company, Nature Bake, was one of the first to bake and sell sprouted wheat breads. Inspired by his father’s hard work and sustainable practices, Dave decided to create his own line of “killer” whole grain breads to add to the family bread-baking business.
In 2005, Dave was released from jail. He made amends with his family and became a partner in the family business, which his brother Glenn had purchased from their parents. In his first year, Dave developed his line of killer breads and marketed them by printing his story right on the label. Today, Dave’s Killer Bread is available at all over Portland and grocery stores throughout the West.
What Dave wants people to take away from his story is that “anybody can change,” and “if I can do it, you can do it.”
Dave’s Killer Bread’s Social and Sustainable Initiatives
Dave’s Killer Bread believes that buying sustainable ingredients supports their mission of making the world a better place, but the business also supports a variety of social and environmental initiatives in order to take their mission to another level. They believe that helping others makes the entire community stronger and promotes good business.
Dave’s Killer Bread does not allow any food to go to waste. The Healthy Bread Store, their bakery outlet, sells day-old and frozen bread that has been returned from grocery stores, for significantly reduced prices. Dave’s donates all unsold bread to local food banks and other food charities, and they donate fresh bread to charity auctions and events. Dave’s Killer Bread works with Portland’s B-Line, which uses bike delivery to pick up and distribute surplus food to local food banks.
Dave’s Killer Bread also holds its own charity events and supports charities like Project Pooch, a program that helps youth in correctional facilities care for and train shelter dogs for adoption.
Dave Dahl visits schools and other community groups to tell his story and encourage others to make the world a better place, including visiting prisons to speak with inmates to offer them hope and inspire them to change. Dave’s Killer Bread has a successful ex-con hiring program and is dedicated to paying livable wages with benefits to employees, as part of their mission of sustainability.
Dave’s Killer Bread currently has 15 different whole grain loaves available, and four more under development. Their website’s ingredient glossary describes each ingredient that might be used in one of their breads, including the health benefits of each.