Time to make the doughnuts … again

Evans Bakery returns to Old North Dayton

 By Jordan C. Terrell
At the second hour of the day, Jennifer Evans walks down her stairs to begin preparation. First, on the list: Doughnuts. Jennifer starts the mix, puts the doughnuts on the mixer, divides them, lets them rest, rolls them out, presses them and fries them. She has begun her daily routine.

Evans Bakery is a full-service bakery. They offer doughnuts, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries and other baked goods, all which have to be prepped for before the doors open at 6 a.m., six days a week, Monday through Saturday.

“Sunday is my day of rest,” Jennifer said with a chuckle.

Jennifer grew up around the processes of a bakery. She knew the workload and she learned it from her parents. Her parents, Bill and Rosemary Evans, are accustomed to the life and workload of a baker. Mr. Evans bought Schattschneider Bakery, at the corner of Troy Street and Warner Avenue, in 1969, changing its name to Evans Bakery. They owned and operated their bakery for 30 years, from 1969 until retirement in 1999. Then Mr. Evans ran a community kitchen named the House of Bread, which he did for 10 years, until he retired.

According to Mr. Evans, this corner has been home to a bakery for 96 years. The history of a bakery in the community has played an important role for the Old North Dayton.

“My research coming from the Dayton City Directory, there was a baker here prior to the Schattschneider Bakery as far back as 1917,” Mr. Evans said.

Jennifer worked alongside her father at the bakery since she was able to roll a rolling pin, routinely working there at age 13. She left Dayton for 15 years to live in Michigan, where she earned a degree, pursued a career in civil engineering and met her partner Matthew Tepper.

Mr. Evans sold the Evans Bakery in 2004, for retirement.

“I folded,” Mr. Evans said.

Evans Bakery then lost its name to change to Gaytko’s Bakery, which lasted seven years. Jennifer and Tepper returned to Dayton in 2011, with Tepper leaving his job as an assistant city manager of Detroit and Jennifer leaving hers as a civil engineer. They quit their jobs to return home and reopen Evan’s Bakery at the corner of Troy Street and Warner Avenue on Dec. 17, 2012.

“It was a reinvestment into the neighborhood,” said Tepper.

The City of Dayton has reinvested in the Old North Dayton and McCook Field neighborhoods around the bakery with the opening of the $40 million Salvation Army Kroc Center on N. Keowee Street, housing and commercial renewal initiatives and demolition of Parkside homes, which were all part of the city’s strategies to reestablish the community. Enthusiasm over a bakery returning to the Old North Dayton neighborbood was apparent on the bakery’s Facebook page.

“They were counting down, the first guy in was posting ‘I’m Here! Yay!’ They all showed that they were very excited,” Jennifer said.

Past customers, reminisced about their favorite baked treats that they grew up on. Some were excited for their children to be able to experience Evan’s baked goods. Ed McCormick commented on their page, “If you only knew how much we appreciate you coming back. It’s like a dream come true for us. We grew up on Evans.”

“They quit their jobs to reopen an old neighborhood landmark,” Mr. Evans said.

Since their reopening, pastries, donuts, bread, cakes and all the other baked goods have been consistently leaving the ovens into their consumers’ hands, they said. Their oven door and front door have been working together as a rhythmic duet. The front door swung five consecutive times within 10 minutes. Customers enter smiling as they approached the glass counter to pick their favorite treats.

“It’s been a constant flow of customers since we’ve opened,” said Tepper with flour on his hands, “It has been nonstop.”

Jennifer doesn’t do the work alone; she has her family to help her. Just as she helped them, growing up. Her nieces and nephews come in to help her with putting icing on cakes and other baked goods, she said. She also has her partner and her parents.

Mr. Evans said, “We’re here because it’s exciting to be working with family.”

Sporting a white apron with a black baker’s hat, Mr. Evans approaches the large rotating oven to take out the pastries.  “This is my third and last time out of retirement, after this I’m done.”

Evans Bakery is located at 700 Troy St. in Dayton. For more information, call 937.228.4151 or visit facebook.com/evansbakery.

Reach DCP freelance writer Jordan Terrell at JordanTerrell@daytoncitypaper.com

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