Weber’s Bakery is closing - The Lodi Enterprise: News

Weber’s Bakery is closing - The Lodi Enterprise: News

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Weber’s Bakery is closing

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Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 3:30 pm | Updated: 9:50 am, Fri Mar 21, 2014.

It's been a Lodi tradition for more than 93 years, but after March 22 Weber's Bakery doughnuts and cakes will be just a delicious memory for thousands of people who have come through its door.

Owner David and his wife Noel Weber made the announcement on the business' Facebook page last Saturday.

The couple said the anemic economy, financial problems and the inability to compete with big corporate bakeries, led to the Lodi landmark shutting its doors.

"We are very sad, but we can't continue this way and we have to call it a day," Noel Weber said in a Monday phone interview.

Eight employees will lose their jobs in the closure.

Noel Weber said David, who is the third generation/owner of the bakery, has been so upset over the announcement that he wasn’t talking to the media about the closing.

The business, known for its caramel doughnuts, wedding cakes and fresh-baked breads, was originally started in 1921 by German immigrant John Weber as the Lodi Home Bakery.

With his Swiss work ethics and old-world recipes, John popularized the Main Street bakery, which eventually was renamed Weber's Bakery. In 1954, John's son, Bob, with the help of his sister Trudy, ran the business for more than a half a century, before David, with the help from his sister Suzanne, officially took over the business in 2001.

Noel, who married David in 2011, came into the business in 2010. She said the bakery had hard times and experienced some "neglect" after Suzanne passed away and David had health problems.

But over the last several years, the couple had breathed new life into the bakery by adding new products and doing more publicity through its website and social media.

Even with the changes, Noel Weber said there wasn't enough daily "foot traffic" to keep the business afloat. She believes consumers’ demand for convenience and lower prices drove business to big box grocery or convenience stores.

"People just weren't shopping locally," she said.

She also said the bakeries commitment to making high-quality products increased raw material and production costs.

The couple made a pact six months ago that if they had to put any more of their personal money in to keep the business viable, they would shut it down. Noel Weber said up until recently they did not pay themselves a wage for working at the business.

Noel Weber said the decision was a very emotional one to make because of the bakery's family history and connection with the Lodi community.

"This business has been a labor of love, and we didn't want to let Lodi down," Noel Weber said.

Over the years, the business has donated to local non-profit organizations, sponsored youth athletic teams and have been part of area business development efforts. David and Noel Weber have also been active in many volunteer efforts.The family-owned business has also been the first job experience for many Lodi area teens.

She said the building will be put up for sale, adding another empty storefront to Lodi's Main Street.

Noel Weber said she already works full-time at another job but the transition for David, will be more difficult.

“He has been a baker all his life,” she said.

The business will fulfill all its existing wedding cake orders, as well as its wholesale contracts, until the building is sold.

Before the business closes for good next Saturday, Noel Weber said she wants to invite former customers, and especially former employees, to come in one last time to get together and share memories.

“We would be honored if those who have worked at the bakery over the years would join us for a closing party. We have been so moved by all the stories, especially from those who gave us their blood, sweat, and tears over the years,” Noel Weber said.

She said even though it's been tough recently for everyone involved, it has been helpful to get kind words from customers and friends, after the closure was announced.

"There has been a lot of support for David and our decision. There has been a lot of love," she said.

Weber's Bakery, 161 South Main St., last day of business will be Saturday, March 22 from 6 a.m.- 4 p.m.

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