August 19, 2019 05:53 PM
(ABC 6 News) - For three generations, the Gingerbread House has been a Rochester staple for all things sweet.
Last week, the owner announced the mom and pop shop will close in September.
“The bread’s awesome, but the donuts are even better,” said longtime customer Jeff Wendt.
“It’s one of those local places that you only find here in Rochester,” said customer Keri Persons.
“The history goes all the way back to 1919. My great-grandpa got into the bakery business in Winona,” said Mike Fish, the bakery’s current owner.
In the 40s, his grandparents started bakeries in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
“Then in 1951 my great-grandpa and grandpa together formed Home Baker, Incorporated in Rochester, so in 1951 we started here,” Fish said.
The business passed down from his grandpa to his dad, and three years ago, to him, which made the decision to close that much harder.
“Just came to a point about three weeks ago where I just, I’m feeling called to do a little bit more of a bakery business. I can’t do what I feel
I’m being called to do in this location with the stuff that we have right now,” Fish said.
Over the years, the Gingerbread House had made a name for itself outside of Rochester, setting a Guinness World Record for world’s largest gingerbread man in 2006.
“This isn’t just cookies and donuts and bread. This is comforting, you know, this is something not only that satisfies your tummy, but your feeling.
It keeps Rochester feeling small,” Fish said.
The bakery’s pastries and kindness have touched the lives of longtime residents and visitors alike.
“My brother has autism and he was having a hard time getting a job, and this is one of the few places that actually let him come in and work and see what it was like,” Parsons said.
There have been challenges during the three years Fish has owned the business.
“My wife and I didn’t take a paycheck for about four months, and then all of a sudden things turned around,” he said.
The past year they’ve increased profits, and it’s not a lack of business that’s causing them to close.
For Fish, it’s the opportunity to do something new, which he feels called to do, even though he’s not quite sure what the future will look like.
“I have no idea. I’m going to sell as much as I can. I have to start from scratch. It’s like a new recipe. I’ve been learning a lot about new recipes. They don’t always work the first time,” Fish said.
Even though the future’s unclear, there’s no doubt the small-town bakery will be missed.
“It’s like a part of Rochester is leaving once they close down,” Parsons said.
“Ending it doesn’t make sense to the head, but it does to my heart,” Fish said.
The bakery’s last day will be Saturday, September 7th.
Created: August 19, 2019 05:53 PM
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