BRIDGEPORT — Those looking to have Bridgeport Bakery’s pumpkin pie, Kugelis, apple slices and other dessert delights on their Thanksgiving table this year will have to go elsewhere, as the Bridgeport institution will close at the end of this month after serving the community for more than 47 years.
Known for its donuts, bacon buns, cookies and ethnic pastries like the paczki, the business announced its intentions in a sign posted on its door which said its owners and bakers wish to retire.
Owned by Ron Pavelka, the bakery, located at 2907 S. Archer Ave., has operated since 1972. In a phone interview, the owner’s sister, Sheila Hansen, who has worked at the bakery for 20 years, said her brother is currently at home recovering from heart surgery. She said his recent medical issues were only part of the reason he’s hanging it up.
“He wants to spend some time with his grandkids and it’s been 47 years, it’s about time he retires,” Hansen said.
She added that no one in the family is willing or able to take the business over and two long-time bakers who work for Pavelka also wish to retire.
“All his kids are working [other careers] and the two bakers we got want to retire, they’ve been working 7 days a week for Ron because he was in the hospital. It will be a long recovery for him and he just can’t do it anymore,” Hansen said.
For nearby Jackalope Coffee & Tea House, located at 744 W. 32nd St., the news of Bridgeport Bakery’s closing was taken hard. The business, which was supplied with baked goods from the bakery for years, posted on its Facebook page that they were “devastated” by the news, and that the bakery was more than just a vendor to them.
“Bridgeport Bakery has not just been a vendor that we happen to use, but more of a family member to us. We have known Ron the owner and the Bridgeport Bakery family way before opening Jackolope,” the post read.
Bridgeport resident Veronica Cervantes said she was “heartbroken” by the news and didn’t know where she would get paczki.
“They have the best donuts and the packzi, we’d go in the middle of the night to get them, it was the only place to go. We tried a couple of the other places but they were not as good,” Cervantes said.
Hansen said the building, owned by Pavelka, is now for sale and that the hardest part for her and her brother will be leaving the customers, many of which have been going to the bakery for years.
Asked if she had a message for customers, Hansen said, “We’re sorry that we have to close the bakery. My brother, after 47 years, wants to retire. We wish everybody well and thank you for all your support through all these years.”
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