When it comes to one particular downtown Trenton business, the loyalty of its customers and longtime fans is baked in at this point.
Kris Davidson, the owner of Elliott’s Bakery, couldn’t be more proud of the shop that has managed to remain open for 90 years is still going strong.
From the Great Depression to the COVID-19 pandemic and all things inbetween, the bakery has stood the test of time — the old fashioned way.
A grand celebration was held at the bakery, located at 2636 West Jefferson, recently to mark the milestone.
Davidson said staying true to baking from scratch and holding steady to all things homemade paid off for the establishment, especially when other businesses were struggling.
While big box stores sat waiting on truck deliveries, Davidson said the bakery kept its business moving along.
The bakery opened in 1931.
It has changed hands a few times and even locations a time or two, but never the recipes and business presence people came to know and love over the years.
Three years ago, Davidson and her husband, Brad, bought the business — taking ownership of the building, recipes and even training on how things are made.
These days, it’s the raspberry currant, a layered shortbread cookie, and butter bud, a light flaky butter cookie, that are popular treats that are drawing in customers.
Long Johns were a customer favorite back in the day, and that hasn’t changed.
The fact that Elliot’s is a full service bakery that never has to unthaw its products before they are served to the public sets it apart from many others.
“We are part of a dying breed,” Davidson said, noting that serving frozen pastries is common in many larger store bakery departments.
While the pandemic forced many eateries to close, Davidson said it did not put a breaking strain on the store’s sales.
However, what it did do was heighten the concern the owners had for its longtime regular customers.
“For our seniors, this is their social time,” Davidson said. “This is how they checked in on each other. Our senior ladies come in at the same time and have a cup of coffee.”
One employee, Cindy Jolly-Smelter, has logged the most years of all workers.
The cashier has been with the bakery for 35 years and Davidson said she has helped give the bakery a comforting and cozy atmosphere — similar to that of the hit television show “Cheers.”
She said Jolly-Smelter has come to know all of their customers — and added that sometimes people really do want to go where everybody knows their name.
The anniversary celebration was a lot of reminiscing and being congratulated by former employees, customers and a few special guests who didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to join the city in celebrating a part of its history.
“(Congresswoman) Debbie Dingell came and brought a proclamation,” Davidson said. “I was in shock. It was a total surprise to me. I had no idea she was coming.”
Throughout the event, people came up and spoke on their special connection to the bakery.
There is a black and white framed picture at the bakery taken in 1956 of a woman who used to work at the bakery standing near the cash register serving a piece of cake.
That woman came back to the bakery and recreated that picture for the anniversary.
“There is just so much rich history here,” Davidson said.
Another shared story was how the bakery was a popular hangout for students at a nearby school.
Many of them would return to class late from hanging out at the bakery.
Bill and Violet Vidoejevski, former owners of the bakery, are in Macedonia and they watched some of the anniversary festivities of the day via FaceTime.
At the time of their ownership, Bill and his brother, Ilya Vidoejevski, were married to two sisters, Anna and Violetta Vidoejevski.
“We are so grateful for the love and support from our customers and community,” a thank you sign said. “We are able to celebrate the past 90 years, and more to come, because of you.”
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