Courtland Bakery celebrates 75 years

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Courtland Bakery is celebrating its 75th anniversary next week with "super spectacular specials, draw prizes and giveaways."

Friday, Sept. 5 and Saturday, Sept. 6 will be the busiest days of the week, said co-owner Mary Peazel, who with her husband John have been handing out fliers and promoting the bakery's anniversary on Facebook.

"We've had a really good response so far."

Some of the draw prizes include four tickets to a Buffalo Sabre NHL game, and either MLB Toronto Blue Jays or OHL London Knights tickets. As well as many gift baskets.

"And a lot of specials," Mary noted. "We're selling a second dozen cookies for 75 cents. Coffee and a donut for 75 cents. Usually, at the this time of the year when school starts, we have cookies on special any way... but not that good of a price."

Her husband asked her, 'why are you doing this?'

She replied with a smile, 'why not?'

"It's the 75th anniversary. I mean, how many businesses survive for 75 years? You've got to make a big deal out of it. Go out with a bang."

The Peazels have been trying for a few years to sell the bakery, so they can both retire – although John is mostly retired as a baker – but they haven't got the right deal yet.

"Hoping to retire some day," she laughed. "But it needs to be the right offer. The right people. It's like with any business, you have a vested interest."

The Peazels are the longest-running owners of Courtland Bakery at 37 years. The original owners had it for 27 years, then six other owners ran the bakery until the Peazels took over, all at the same location.

"The original bakery was only 500 square feet. This is 2,000 square feet, four times bigger than what it used to be. And we used to live in the back of the bakery, in an apartment, when we first bought it."

A fire in December 1988 prompted a series of major renovations. They basically rebuilt the bakery.

Some of their equipment was self-designed and built, adding to their efficiency. They can bake up to 200 loaves of bread at one time.

"We used to make a lot more bread than we do now. Now, it's shifted more to pastries. People are getting away from white bread, especially. Our grain breads and rye bread is out-pacing our white bread. A lot more people are asking for whole wheat buns, and stuff like that too. The pastries are definitely selling more than the bread. And of course we have the cheese and deli sections too. Some days, lunches are just crazy in here. Especially on rainy days."

Established in a village of 700 people, most of their customers come from 'out of town.' The customer base benefits from being on Highway 3, she said, with people travelling from Windsor to Fort Erie, and their guest book features names from around the world.

Stop by Courtland Bakery next week at 217 Main Street, Courtland to discover why they've thrived for 75 years.


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