Quiram’s Bakery in New Richland takes the cake

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 23, 2002

The air is fragrant with the smell of yeast rising and bread baking. The workers are all busy baking, frying, frosting or slicing. If you are a lover of fresh bread and pastries, you might think you were in heaven.

But fortunately you’re not; you’re still alive and standing in Quiram’s bakery, New Richland. And you better buy something while you can, because what’s behind the counter won’t last long, although some items sell faster than others.

&uot;Cream-filled long johns were the most popular when we started, and they still are,&uot; said Marilyn Quiram, co-owner of the bakery with her husband Elmer.

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The Quirams bought the bakery in 1969, and have been making long johns, apple flopovers and kolaches ever since. When they bought it, the business had already been a part of life in New Richland since before WWII.

While the popularity of long johns has been a constant, many other things have changed, said Marilyn. The bakery started offering more prepared foods, like salads, and also branched into catering meals for graduation parties and weddings.

&uot;People just seem to want more prepared and ready-to-go food than they did years ago,&uot; she said.

Their work day starts early. Elmer handles the baking part, getting into the bakery at 2 a.m. each day to get things started. Their son Scott starts working at midnight. Marilyn and other employees start coming in between 3 and 5 a.m. The doors don’t open until 7, but people often stop by much earlier, they said. It doesn’t bother them, as long as those early customers don’t mind being served right from the cooling racks.

&uot;It works best when people call and let us know they need something extra early,&uot; said Marilyn, &uot;Especially if it’s going to be a big order.&uot;

With Elmer in the back, Marilyn covers the counter or supervises cake decorating, as well as organizes the catering orders. Most of their ten employees have been with them so long she thinks of them as a kind of a family, looking out for each other. One of their own sons works full-time alongside his father, while their other four children have careers in education, although they come in and help out as they are needed.

A former school teacher herself, Marilyn enjoys being out and about with people.

&uot;I like seeing the customers and employees happy. It’s a good feeling when people are satisfied,&uot; she said.

&uot;When we first started out I used to get uptight if an order wasn’t perfect or wasn’t ready on time, but people have been good to us, they understand. I’ve learned to take it easy,&uot; said Marilyn.

Over the years they’ve developed relationships with both customers and employees, seeing each others’ kids baptized, confirmed, graduated and married, she said.

Now they are both at retirement age, they are also starting to think about finding someone to take over, someone much younger with energy and enthusiasm.

&uot;I would hope whoever takes over is young, ambitious and community-minded,&uot; Marilyn said.

They know the process of finding a buyer may take awhile, and started looking around early because they don’t want to just shut the bakery down.

With all the years of experience and contact with so many different customers, she finds some things remain the same with every generation.

&uot;They still like to eat sweets, whatever their parents or the doctor tells them,&uot; Marilyn added, with a laugh.