Local grocery shoppers will now be able to buy Kokomo-made sourdough bread at both Kroger locations.
Stoney’s Sourdough Pizza Co. has struck a deal to sell its bread at both the Dixon Road and Maple Crest Plaza Kroger locations, a major feat for the just two-year-old business.
Stoney’s owner Adam Neher has been baking sourdough bread for a couple years now. He opened Stoney’s in early 2018, but it wasn’t until months after opening that the idea of making and selling sourdough bread was pitched to Neher by fellow sourdough lover Tim Hagmaier.
“I was in pizza mode. I had my blinders on,” Neher said. “He said, ‘Why don’t we take some of this and throw it in a pan and bake some bread?’ And I was like ‘Sure, Tim, if you want to. I don’t care.’”
The restaurant then began selling its bread in-store with the scrap sourdough from the morning’s prep work. After consistently selling out of the bread, Neher realized he had something special.
It wasn’t long before Stoney’s began bagging the bread and selling it in local stores, including Sunspot Market’s Kokomo and West Lafayette locations and The Market Store & Cafe downtown. Stoney’s also began making and selling sourdough hamburger buns for and to The Coterie and other local restaurants.
From the beginning, though, Neher had his sights on selling his bread in corporate grocery chains after going to all of them and not seeing anything like his sourdough bread being sold.
“There was sourdough bread, but it’s all fake sourdough bread,” Neher said. “It’s got 30 ingredients, and they put vinegar in it to make it taste sour.”
Stoney’s sourdough bread by comparison has just three ingredients – flour, salt and water – and is mixed by hand every day just like it was done thousands of years ago.
Neher thought it would be quick to get his bread into the local Kroger stores, but the entire process took roughly 10 months, requiring serious dedication.
But the hard work paid off.
As of Monday, lovers of Stoney’s sourdough bread can buy them at both Kokomo Kroger locations for a little bit more than $5 a loaf. In the future, Neher told the Tribune he hopes to expand to more Kroger locations and hopefully other grocery chains in the Indianapolis-area.
For now, though, he’s enjoying getting to share his love for sourdough bread with the local community.
“The moral of it is through persistence and determination, you can do anything, man,” Neher said. “I feel such a sense of accomplishment. I’m literally making everything by hand, and it’s amazing to me I convinced my wife on this whole idea a couple years ago. ... She believed in me, and I’ve been making it up on the spot as I go and making it with my hands, and now here I am; I got into a nationally leading grocery store. … I feel a sense of pride for both myself and Kokomo. I hope people can get behind it.”