Big Sky Bread bakes into a local success story


Photo: Noah Landis

Big Sky Bread provides a variety of breads for customers to sample.

A local bakery’s bread has become a popular choice for craving customers. Big Sky Bread, a family owned business for 20 years, has said to have been baking the best bread under the sky. A mouthwatering menu and quick and easy service are just a couple of the reasons why their customers continue to come back.

In the business’s earlier days, Big Sky Bread was a franchise company. It was a large chain bakery that expanded the United States. There are only about a handful left across the states. One of them is in our very own town, Kettering, Ohio.

Michael Gallenstein, one of the owners’ sons who is a junior at Fairmont, helps with the family business on occasion.

“It was a franchise a long time ago,” he said. His parents, Mari and Phillip Gallenstein, worked for the company and after moving around they decided to purchase one of the bakeries.

“They sold us the Dayton territory,” Mari Gallenstein said. “We were pretty much just thrown out there and nobody knew about us in Dayton.”

Mari and Phillip struggled to get the money to support the beginning stages of their business.

“We were pretty young when we started and getting the funding and someone to give us a loan was difficult,” she said.

Eventually, they got the money and began focusing on getting their name out there. The actual name, Big Sky Bread, originates from the whole wheat flour that comes from Montana, also known as “Big Sky Country.”

Even today after 20 years, their main priority is to continue expanding Big Sky and to keep their bread popular.

“I think our biggest goal is to keep growing,” said Mari Gallenstein. “We want to keep everyone thinking Big Sky.”

To achieve that, they strive to provide the best selection and highest quality bread possible. “We try to have 10 to 15 breads a day; sometimes 20 different ones,” Mari Gallenstein said, “Our most popular item is the pizza bread. It’s everyone’s favorite.”

Some other well-liked items include the cinnamon swirl and ciabatta. “It’s the best dinner bread ever. We eat that almost every night for dinner at our house,” she said.

Along with their famed bread, their range of sweets vary from pretzel knots to giant cinnamon rolls to coffee cake and jumbo cupcakes. Big Sky has had great success with making desserts along with their bread.

Their busiest time of the year is October through April, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas time.

“Two days before Thanksgiving it’s super busy because you have to bake all the bread the night before,” Michael Gallenstein said.

During holidays their customers all come craving sweets.

“They want cake and bread and none of them really care what they look like in a bathing suit that time of year,” Mari Gallenstein said.

Alongside the holiday season, Big Sky stays busy baking bread for farmer’s markets in Vandalia, Huber Heights, Centerville and the 2nd Street Market.

“We do farmer’s markets in the summer and it’s kind of like our expansion,” Mari Gallenstein said.

Big Sky formerly owned both their Far Hills location and another store at the now Dayton Beer Company. The addition on Dorothy was closed due to a lack of suitable management and so the owners could concentrate on working and improving at their original location.

Today, Mari and Phillip run the Far Hills bakery. Brittany Mason, a junior at Fairmont who balances marching band and working at Big Sky speaks very highly of the business and it’s owners. 

“Mari is there in the day while we sell and Phillip is there at some extremely-early hour in the morning baking the bread,” Mason said. 

Mason really enjoys working at the company. “The bosses are super cool about hours and because it’s locally owned and they have a son our age, they really connect with their employees.”

Mason works a lot with other Fairmont students at Big Sky.

“There’s a plethora of part-time highschoolers because they mend to our schedule and they need a ton of employees to cover the hours,” she said. “Working for a smaller place you get to really interact with your coworkers and it’s a much more fun experience.”

Mason, who has made lots of friends working at Big Sky really relishes the opportunity. “I love working there, it’s amazing.”

The Gallensteins have put a lot into the success of the bakery. “Basically, when one person owns a business then it’s like the whole family owns the business,” Michael Gallenstein said.

Michael see’s how great his parents have done with Big Sky and is inspired to build his own business. “It’s a really big success. They’ve done really well with it.”