Marc Howland struggled for years to find healthy food options that would fit his lifestyle while working long hours in the corporate world. When he grew tired of being the guy who asked for lettuce wraps instead of bread at sandwich shops and restaurants (complete with side-eyes, eye rolls, questions and soggy iceberg lettuce wraps in reply), he knew there had to be a better solution.
So, he created it with Breadless.
In 2019, Howland and his then-fiance-turned-wife LaTresha started on a mission to create a new Detroit dining option that, as Howland put it, “would specifically focus on sandwiches that are healthy and delicious, without all the carbs and calories as a core product.”
Their research backed them up with statistics that said 17% of people actively subscribe to a low-carb or no-carb diet, 93% of people want to eat healthy at least some of the time and 63% want to eat healthy all the time.
They started experimenting with lettuce sandwiches in their home kitchen but soon realized they needed to bring a professional on board to up the product offerings. Enter Ryan Salter, an experienced chef, caterer and restaurant owner the couple had met. Once Salter came on board, the concept completely shifted from using iceberg lettuce to creating sandwiches held together with leafy, super greens like red swiss chard, turnip greens, kale and collard greens.
Salter also added his finesse, tailoring each sandwich offering to fit different taste profiles. Together they launched three signature sandwiches: The Garden of Eatin’ (eggplant on collard), Bird is the Word (turkey on turnip) and Chardi B (chicken on swiss chard).
The team of three then reached out to gyms, local schools and more, with word starting to spread about their new, bread-free sandwiches. Howland was so determined to make sure he had the requisite knowledge, he even took a job at a fast-paced sandwich shop for $10 an hour to learn the behind-the-scenes work of running a successful spot.
As word spread, so did the compliments and local fans. “People loved it and would begin following us, asking when our next pop-up would be, just to get their gluten-free fix,” said LaTresha Howland, who goes by LC.
After doing pop-ups from summer 2019 to February 2020, the three opened their own brick and mortar in March 2022 in the neighborhood known as Rivertown. The area, said LC, is the backbone of the business. She grew up here and so knows firsthand how this underserved community has, in past years, lacked healthy food options. She said she’s seen firsthand the effects of poor food choices and the health issues that can be a result of unhealthy eating. This is what drives the team in their mission and eventual goal to expand into other areas with franchise opportunities.
“We’ve been immensely grateful to align with a whole village that believes in our mission to bring nutritious Breadless sandwiches to neighborhoods everywhere,” she said. “Though we’re highly focused on this location to start, what gets us particularly excited is our vision to create hundreds of entrepreneurs via affordable franchises, including lowering barriers to access to money, all while bringing leafy greens to communities everywhere.”
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