Passing the Rolling Pin
Part 1 of The Bake Shop Succession
Reflections from the Flynn Family on dual decades of love, legacy
By P.M. Fadden
The Bake Shop, a Girdwood fixture since 1973, is under new ownership as of Jan. 1 2017.
Founded by German migrant and venerable Girdwoodian Werner Egloff, the iconic eatery has changed hands only once. In 1997, Egloff gave the business to the Flynn family. Michael, Stefanie, and daughter Annika have steered The Bake Shop through nearly twenty years of continued prosperity. Both family and shop enter a next phase.
Michael and Stefanie have selected their successor. Gazette coverage of this transition will begin with Flynn family’s reflections on two decades of homemade offerings.
“Perhaps this story explains it,” Stefanie said. “A few summers ago, an elderly gentleman visited The Bake Shop. He had been coming for lunches while stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base thirty years ago. On a whim, the man decided to find us. Returning after all those years, he could recall the restaurant layout, and enjoyed the very same food as he did thirty years ago.”
“That man found the same spot, the same food, and the same tastes and smells,” she said. “Think of the memories that brought back and how special it is to find a place with such history.”
“When first taking over The Bake Shop, we divided workload based upon strengths,” Stefanie said. “I did book keeping, administration, marketing and gardening. Michael focused on operations. This suited us well because, despite the restaurant never sleeping and work being constant, I was able to work from home and stay with our daughter, Annika” she said. “It was a good division.”
“It was divide-and-conquer,” Michael said. “It’d been a dream to own our own business, and we were able to take our experiences and plug them in.”
Under the Flynn family’s direction, The Bake Shop bloomed, nearly doubling its business. Michael and Stefanie accredit the positive trend to strong foundation.
“We took over a proven concept,” Stefanie said. “Werner established it. He was a trained chef. Michael is a trained chef, so it was an easy step. Bake Shop concentrates on really good homemade food, not just to feed but nourish people. The food we provide isn’t fast food but made-from-scratch in a fabulous location.”
“The smells, sounds and dishes shared in this beautiful setting let people know visiting The Bake Shop is a special time. Locals and visitors seek The Bake Shop as an independent operation with solid reputation,” Michael said.
“The Bake Shop has the location, and the years,” Stefanie added. “This is Alaska’s oldest condo building–the first established in the state. Even the sourdough recipe is 100 years-old.”
“The Sourdough’s The Bake Shop’s heart and soul,” Michael interjected. “The recipe stays with the restaurant.”
The Flynns explain The Bake Shop’s acceptance stems from commitment to community.
“We’re longtime supporters of Beans Café with bi-weekly bread donations,” Michael said. “Adding Werner’s donation history, we’ve been donating unsold baked items to the Beans Café since the seventies.”
“The Bake Shop has been a big community supporter via donations, services and sponsorships,” Stefanie added. “We’ve created entry level jobs for valley children and J1 Visa recipients who’ve told us their lives have been shaped by Michael giving them their first job and training.”
As The Bake Shop evolution continued, so too did Family Flynn.
“I learned along with demands,” Stefanie said, “surrounding myself with marketing, communications and social media professionals. Whether as member of Visit Anchorage or the Girdwood Chamber of Commerce, I was able to benefit from different knowledge bases and, in these regards, grow. Over nineteen years, we’ve added small tour operations and social media development. We’re engaging guests, catering to groups and getting out there.”
Regarding announcement of The Bake Shop’s sale, Family Flynn is reserved.
“I have twenty-year returning customers asking after Werner and passing on ‘hello’s’ because they think Werner still owns the restaurant,” Michael said. “That’s how we’d like this transition to go as well.”
As ownership talks finalized, Families Kari and Flynn emphasized that customers, new or returning, will enjoy the same experience without any change.
“I’ll speak from the heart,” Michael said. “It was a difficult decision. The Bake Shop’s a part of our family. It’s meant a lot to us, but upon meeting Brian and Isha, we knew right away there was a connection.”
“What it boils down to is: you don’t choose The Bake Shop; The Bake Shop chooses you,” he said. “It’s a responsibility to the customers and business that has supported us as well as given us uncountable contacts and fond memories. It’s really rewarding.”
While preparations for Family Flynn’s next life chapter to continue, Michael and Stefanie stress that The Bake Shop remains unchanged.
“We’ll be in the valley for a while longer,” Stefanie said. “A big part of the business is the greenhouse starting March 1st and I’m thrilled at Isha’s apprenticeship to continue beautifying The Bake Shop frontage with summertime flowers.”
“It’s been a blast,” Stefanie laughed. “Nineteen years ago we were new kids on the block. We are grateful for the community support in continuing Werner’s legacy and happy to pass on that work to Brian and Isha.
“Yes, the flowers are going to be there, and no, they’re not going to change a thing.”
– Michael Flynn on transition of The Bake Shop ownership