The business spotlight this issue of the Juniper Berry shines on a another real neighborhood star, Bauer’s Bake Shop. If you never had a delicious cake from Bauer’s Bakery you have missed one of the nicer treats in life.

Bauer’s Bakery has been at its current location for many years, since 1933, to be exact. When I was a kid eons ago, while on errand assignment for my mother, I remember waiting on the long lines at Bauer’s to purchase some of their goodies.

I stopped in the bakery during Easter week and spoke to Anita Wunsch. Anita is half the team of Ernest and Anita Wunsch. Ernest and Anita took over the business about ten years ago when Ernest’s parents retired.

At Bauer’s you literally taste and smell their success! Their cakes, breads, cookies, aroma etc. are out of this world. When we needed our victory cake for the zip code party this past January, we headed straight to Bauer’s. We weren’t disappointed and the Bauer’s delicious cake contributed to the big success of the celebration.

Anita’s enthusiasm for her bakery is absolutely infectious. She was so proud to show me the Bauer’s operation in the back of the retail store. Actually it encompasses many square feet of work area which surprised me since its large size is not apparent from the store. There are ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, everything that you would imagine you need to operate a successful bakery for so many years.

It does not go unnoticed that everything is spotlessly clean. In fact, I asked Anita that very question, “how do you do it, this place is cleaner than my house!!” Well, no problem at Bauer’s Bakery. Anita was proud to boast of constant super clean inspections from the Board of Health. When you see all the bags of ingredients you need to run a bakery, you have to think it would be a miracle to always be super clean. They are not only super clean but, after hearing Anita’s passion for cleanliness, they are always working at ways to make it cleaner! I don’t know about anybody else but as a consumer I want to know my food establishments are clean and that they have adopted methods to keep it that way. Nowadays so many food places are downright dirty with workers handling food without gloves, tobacco smells, everything, all over the food.

Anita said that in the busy holiday seasons they have as many as 9 bakers working. Many of the employees started their Bauer’s careers as teenagers, working their way through school. They return now to help out during the various holiday seasons.

It didn’t surprise me that the Wunsches inspire such loyalty. After all, they are the children of the previous owners, so they “know their stuff,” so to speak. Also, they have resettled in the area with their two young children, owning a home in the Crescents area of Rego Park.

The Wunsch family is also very generous in their “return on investment” to the community. Any product not sold by Sunday’s closing gets donated to the local churches and charities. Nothing is wasted and we’re not talking stale stuff. Since everything is made fresh from scratch, it makes for a tasty goody at some church function or senior center during the week. Anita and Ernest also give their time and money generously to other local charities.
When a business is successful in the face of enormous competition from all areas, there has to be a common ingredient that makes it happen. No, it’s not “luck,” which gives the impression of “accident.” No “accident” at Bauer’s Bakery. It’s called “work,” grueling hard work and Anita and Ernest Wunsch work just as hard at keeping their employees happy as they do at producing their outstanding product. It is a mutually productive approach. They value their staff and they are rewarded with reciprocal loyalty.

This loyalty is readily apparent at holiday time when there is tremendous pressure to get it right. The result of that team effort is what makes for success in a tough business environment. In fact, this surprised me, Bauer’s Bakery is a union shop, so there are certain standards to be met from owner to employee and vice versa.

Aren’t we fortunate to have such a star like Bauer’s Bakery in our neighborhood and such community minded people running it? As I say often, Middle Village is a class act. We have so many devoted people like Anita and Ernest Wunsche. They inspire community spirit and make us proud to be residents.

Give yourself a treat, park your calorie counter and give Bauer’s Bakery a visit. You will thoroughly enjoy it, that’s a promise!