October 25: The founder of Dave’s Killer Breads, the breakout bread story of the past five years, shares his roller coaster journey of success, crash and burns, and redemptive new beginnings in a conversation about life lessons learned, with Peter Reinhart.
“I was a four-time loser before I realized I was in the wrong game.” That was the first line of the autobiographical story that appeared on the back of every loaf of Dave’s Killer Bread from 2005 to 2014. “Four-time loser” refers to his four prison sentences for crimes ranging from burglary to armed robbery to drug dealing.
He once shared abandoned houses with cockroaches on the streets of Detroit in the dead of winter, and now he lives in a luxurious high-rise penthouse in downtown PDX. His story epitomizes transformation.
The story on the bread bag remained unchanged until 2014 after Dahl had a well-publicized mental breakdown. He had to accept that—at least for Dave Dahl—there’s no “happily ever after”. But he finds great satisfaction in “fighting the good fight”, one day at a time. He believes that forgiveness of self and others is essential to inner peace and personal growth. But it’s only one of many lessons he’s come away with through all of his struggles—and triumphs.
Dave’s Killer Bread, a family endeavor, was sold to Flowers Foods in 2015, leaving Dave with a void to fill. He spent the next 2-plus years building what is perhaps the largest collection of African tribal art in the world. During this time, he lived a semi-hermetic lifestyle.
Now, with a healed heart and mind, he steps back out on a mission to help inspire others to find their own brand of success.