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Early mornings, and early history

Photos by Rachelle Klemme Carolyn Flicek and owner Deb Juers stand behind the counter of Wadena Bakery and Coffee Shop.1 / 5
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Wadena Bakery and Coffee Shop has retained a retro storefront design.3 / 5
"Sunbeam Bread" was an ad campaign running in the early 1950s.4 / 5
This old photo by Rex McDonald studio shows the Banquet Bakery and describes it as nearing its second anniversary, dating it around the year 1941.5 / 5

205 S. Jefferson has been a destination for bread and pastry cravings for many decades.

According to the database from the Wadena County Historical Society, the location of the Wadena Bakery and Coffee Shop has housed bakeries on and off since the late 19th century.

City Restaurant and Bakery, owned by John Breher, started there in 1883 but was located at Aldrich Ave. SE for most of its time until it ended in 1922. It was the longest running of several bakeries to exist in the 1880s and 1890s, the town's early days.

"Bob Zosel was my infinite, absolute source," owner Deb Juers said. "He gave me some information, and to my understanding, upstairs used to be a dentists's office. The newspaper was here for a short period of time. This was a mercantile down here for a period of time, and a bakery for a long, long, long time."

Today's Wadena Coffee Shop and Bakery had its roots in two different businesses, the oldest of which was started in 1918 with the Engh Brothers Grocery and Bakery on 116 S. Jefferson St. The name changed three times while it was a family bakery business.

In 1948, it was renamed the Wadena Bakery and Coffee Shop as ownership was passed to Alfred Johnson. The store moved to 122 S. Jefferson in 1950 changed hands three times in the early 1950s.

David Schmidt took ownership in 1973, moving it to 106 S. Jefferson, the current location of Pizza Ranch.

Meanwhile, another business called Banquet Bakery occupied 205 S. Jefferson starting in 1939 and was renamed Gaynell's Bakery in 1973. In 1980, it was sold to Schmidt who consolidated the two businesses - using the name of Wadena Coffee Shop and Bakery but the Banquet location, where it remains to this day. David and Mary Schmidt went on to manage Abby's Bakery in 1995.

Juers has been the owner of Wadena Bakery and Coffee Shop for about 15 years. She starts work extremely early in the morning, also supplying bakery products to other businesses in town.