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Glendora bakery

Small Town Bakery, Big Time Production

Seeking more space, Azusa Pacific moved its bakery from the central kitchen to a neighborhood shop.

Azusa Pacific University has revived a favorite bakery in a nearby city, moving bakery production off campus and becoming part of the neighborhood.

Every dinner roll, hamburger bun, slice of bread, muffin and dessert is baked in-house at Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA. With just 300 sq. ft. to bake in the main central kitchen, the bakery’s need for more space was rising faster than the bread.

Last summer, a bakery in the small town of Glendora, about 3 or 4 miles from the university in a neighboring city, went up for sale. Samuel Samaan, APU’s executive director of dining services, saw great potential there.

“The bakery that was going out of business had a great reputation dating back to the early 1980s,” Samaan says. The goal became reopening a great retail bakery that would serve the community—and at the same time—handle the huge production needs for the university.

How huge? After a grand opening the week of Thanksgiving, the bakery is producing 650 dozen large muffins, 650 dozen hamburger buns, 600 dozen sandwich rolls, 250 dozen loaves of bread, and 800 dozen cookies. Additionally, the bakery turns out special-occasion desserts like fruit tarts and gourmet cupcakes for campus events and meetings.

Azusa Pacific University bakery

The name is the same as it was in its heyday 30 years ago: Glendora Café and Bakery.
Sales from the bakery to the public and on-campus sales are accounted for separately. All the product for campus is non-taxable since it’s sold wholesale to eateries, but if a student buys an item from the Glendora operation, they will pay taxes.

Meal plans are not applied to the retail portion of the bakery, Samaan says.
“ There are a lot of people who have lived a long time in the area, and at our grand opening, I got to hear some of their stories,” Samaan says. “There was one man who remembered getting his wedding cake here in 1980. They feel a real connection to this place.”

Before moving in, APU did some renovations on the 2,500 sq. ft. production area and also the front of the store, investing in a new oven, several big mixers and other miscellaneous equipment. The biggest challenge was the time crunch, Samaan says, but so far the transition has been fairly smooth.

“We already have regulars who come in every morning,” he says. The bakery is open six days a week, as early as 6 a.m. most days. There are two head bakers, Bruce Blair and Dean Gotto, who have a combined 76 years of baking experience.

“We don’t take shortcuts,” Blair says. “We don’t use cheap ingredients or preservatives. Our recipes are simple—real butter, flour, sugar, yeast and eggs.”

A staff of about 15 students are learning from Blair and Gotto, and soon, the bakery will partner with APU’s business school for internships based on running all parts of the business. The business itself is already growing, making about $8,000 to $10,000 a week and about $2,500 to $3,000 in the retail portion. Right now, the bakery is also providing baked goods for a few local businesses and schools. Samaan hopes to add more accounts throughout the new year, he says.

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