April 26, 2003
ONE LAST PIECE OF COFFEE CAKE
FINAL DAY: THE FAMILY-OWNED LAKESIDE BAKERY IS CLOSING ITS DOORS TODAY AFTER 48 YEARS IN BUSINESS
By Jane Brissett, News-Tribune staff writer
Add this to your list of things to do this morning: Stop at Gustafson’s Lakeside Bakery and stock up.
Today is its last day in business.
If you want to have a last taste of the Gustafson family’s special coffee cakes, fried cinnamon rolls, bismarcks and other goods — all made from scratch — put down that coffee cup and head to Lakeside right now before they sell out.
Within a couple of weeks, Johnson’s Bakery in the Lincoln Park/West End neighborhood expects to expand to a second location at the same 4509 E. Superior St. location occupied by Lakeside Bakery.
“I hope they don’t change the recipes,” said Karl Braafladt as he picked up a couple of items Friday morning.
The bakery, which has been in the same place since 1955, is a local institution and one of the few family-owned bakeries left in the city. It’s the only stand-alone bakery in Lakeside.
For about 50 years a group of men has been meeting for coffee at Gustafson’s Lakeside Bakery. And while the faces have changed, the tradition continues in April 2003 for Bob Klein (clockwise from left), Jerry Archer, William Keller, John Keturi, Cliff Hedman and George Lancour. (Derek Neas / News-Tribune)
It’s not only a place to pick up a loaf of bread or some cupcakes, but it’s a gathering spot. A group of male retirees has met there for coffee every morning since the bakery opened. While membership of the group has changed, the topics they discuss haven’t.
“We talk about politics, world affairs — you name it,” said William Keller, a member of the group. Many are veterans, John Keturi said. “We get quite a few war stories,” he said.
Ted Gustafson, 91, and his sons, Bill, 60, and Bob, 57, are retiring out of necessity. Their son and brother, Tom, who also helped run the business, died last year. They also have four other employees.
“We don’t really want to quit,” Bill Gustafson said. But he has severe arthritis. Both of his hips and knees and an elbow have been replaced. All of the heavy work has been left to him.
Bob Gustafson, however, has a bad back and will be having surgery soon. He won’t be able to work the job anymore, either. And Ted Gustafson, who has been at work at the bakery at 3:30 a.m. every day for 48 years, can’t do it alone.
“People are really shocked that we’re closing,” Bill Gustafson said.
Much of the bakery’s business comes from people who live and work in the Lakeside neighborhood, such as lifelong resident Dave Borgeson, who picked up a bag of goodies before he went to work at a nearby pharmacy Friday morning. (Derek Neas / News-Tribune)
Ted Gustafson is one of four brothers who each owned a bakery back in the 1950s. One was in Lincoln Park/West End, two were downtown and Ted’s was in Lakeside. His is the last one surviving.
At one time, Lakeside Bakery delivered daily to the Air Force base, City Hall, the courthouse and the Federal Building. For several years, they supplied East High School with glazed doughnuts for the students’ morning break.
But they have cut down in recent years and don’t routinely deliver anymore. The walk-in business keeps them going.
“We try to stick with stuff that sells fast and that people like,” Bill Gustafson said.
In some respects, Johnson’s Bakery is a natural successor to Gustafson’s. Scott Johnson, president and general manager of Johnson’s Bakery, said his late father, who founded his family’s bakery in 1946, knew Ted Gustafson.
There will be no party or speeches marking the closing, but Johnson’s praise makes an appropriate eulogy for Gustafson’s Lakeside Bakery:
“Nowadays, for anyone to be in business that long says they’re certainly doing something right.”
As noted in the story, Johnson’s Bakery took over the Lakeside Bakery location, and remains there to this day.
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