The City of Salem’s newest economic development success story is moving H&R Bakery into a larger facility — just a few dozen feet away – into the former Craft Town building in the Northeast corner of the Salem square.
The bakery, which started in 1946, when Jack and his brother, Warren “Strawberry” Mahuron returned from World War II, has been in continuous operation on Walnut Street ever since. After the Mahurons were called into duty during the Korean War, they sold the operation to an employee, who later sold the bakery to Lou and Bob Missamore, who owned the establishment until it was sold to the Daughertys.
Duane and Juanita Daugherty have called H&R Bakery home for the past 16 years and the couple is anxious about the new venture which will open in the new location sometime in 2016.
At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon in City Hall, Duane spoke about the need for expanding the Salem bakery.
“We were in a situation where we ran out of room about two years ago,” Duane said. “I guess you could say productivity has dropped back a notch because we’re constantly running over each other.”
He said the success of the bakery in Salem and the one in Mitchell, Huckleberry Bakery, which opened in 2010, is due to the customers.
“It’s because of our customers. We’re in a situation where our growth has been truly unbelievable,” Duane explained. “They talk about the Great Recession…We didn’t even know it hit. We went right on through it. We’ve had the bakery for 16 years. Every single year we’ve increased. In fact, this first month has been astronomical. Not many businesses can say that.”
Greg Fitzloff, Salem Marketing Director, said he has been working with the Daughterys to make this happen.
“They are bringing a lot with their expansion — an expanded display case and front store operation in the front part of the store, a drive-thru (in the alley between the Square and Walnut Street) and an expansion for their kitchen area in the rear of the store,” said Fitzloff.
Duane said the new location will allow for more room and an increase production and well as adding full and part-time employees.
“Our overall area will be much larger,” Duane said. “We’ll have the Drive through which will make it more convenient for customers. We’ll have an entrance in front and on the back side. The back side will offer access to customers with large vehicles, fishing boats, construction trailers. We didn’t want those people to have to find a place to park on the square.”
He said it could take up to 18 months to get the new location open. But, as City of Salem Mayor David Bower pointed out, there will be no disruption in the production of donuts.
“We’re not just slapping paint on the walls or cleaning the broken glass and open up….This is a major renovation,” said Duane. “But this is all because of our customers. One gentleman buys two walnut brownies each day for the past 16 years. If the quality starts to waiver a little bit, he lets me know.”
“My brother’s recipe for the doughnuts and brownies is still the same that is used today,” said Jack Mahuron. “Strawberry was a baker in the military and made them in the war. There’s nothing like them around!”
Duane said that had it not been for the Mahurons and others over the years, the business might be there today — “My hats off to them,” said Duane.