John Sweet knew he wanted to work with making bread when he was 20 years old and took a Summer job as a Shaper for Zingerman’s Bakehouse. In 2002 John and his wife, Angela Sweet opened Chattanooga’s only naturally leavened bread making business, Niedlov’s Bakery.
In 2010, John Sweet was nominated for and won Tennessee’s Small Business Person of the Year Award.
He accepted this award in the name of his business and included his wife and workers as well as the local businesses who support Niedlovs.
With a degree from Covenant College and post-secondary education in baking plus a year’s work on the business side of operations at Zingerman’s Bakehouse, Sweet and his wife relocated to Chattanooga and opened Niedlovs where he remains the lead baker today. Sweet is an avid recycler and takes compost from a local school once a week to mulch the family garden. He envisions that composting will become a trend city-wide.
The following comes from Niedlovs website:
“Niedlov’s Breadworks is a dream in progress of breadmakers John and Angela Sweet. John and Angela met at Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they made bread together and fell in love before John started Niedlov’s Breadworks in the fall of 2002.”
Niedlov’s started as a wholesale bakery, focusing on selling bread to fine dining establishments in the downtown area. In February of 2003, Niedlov’s began selling bread through Greenlife Grocery. The 2003 season of the Chattanooga Market gave Niedlov’s an opportunity to sell directly to the public, and in early 2004, Niedlov’s set up a retail counter in the front of the bakery to accommodate walk-in customers.”
Niedlov’s slogan is, “Love to Knead and Knead to Love.” This article published in BakeryBoy’s blog tells how the Sweets chose the name Niedlovs for their local business:
“Niedlov is a Bulgarian surname with no relation to John or Angela. “My last name is Sweet and I chose a career in baking,” John explains. “I could have called it Sweet’s Bakery—that would work on some levels. But it’s completely wrong for the Old World breads that are our main focus. We came across the Eastern European name Niedlov and thought it just sounded right. The name itself is kind of crusty and chewy, like the naturally leavened whole grain breads we bake.”
Niedlovs serves lunch, breakfast sandwiches and coffee at their storefront location while supplying bread and cookies for several area restaurants and through the Main Street Farmer’s Market each Wednesday.
This Times Free Press article by Ellis Smith announced Sweet as Tennessee SBA’s person of the year.
Reporting: Monessa Guilfoil
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