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Beloved bakery in Oakland set to close Sunday

Beloved bakery in Oakland set to close Sunday
Beloved bakery in Oakland set to close Sunday 02:50

OAKLAND -- An iconic Oakland bakery which first opened in 1929 will be closing after this weekend.

It's the end of the line for A Taste of Denmark and heartbroken customers say when it leaves it will be taking a part of Oakland along with it.

From the fruit Danish to the Scandanavian butter cookies to the German chocolate cakes, the old-fashioned feel of A Taste of Denmark has drawn loyal customers of all ages from all over the Bay Area. Wayne Young first started going there as a kid.

"I've been coming here since 1975. I was five years old," he said. "This place is iconic. It's been here forever. My dad brought me here. I'm bringing my daughter here."

Young's Saturday-morning pastry run went from sweet to bitter when he saw the sign posted in the window: "Going Out of Business. Last Day Sunday Oct. 23."

The business spent its first 80 years as Neldam's Bakery but that closed in 2010. Then a group of employees, including Ramon Luna, took it over, changing the name to  A Taste of Denmark but keeping the same recipes with the same high-quality ingredients.

Customers appreciated that but now Luna said inflation, coupled with high rents, have taken such a bite that even a recent price increase hasn't got them out of the hole.

"You know, a lot of the customers didn't complain about the price increase. It's not so much that," he said. "It's just the price increases didn't really help us, because the ingredients kept going up and up and up."

Taste of Denmark Bakery
A Taste of Denmark in Oakland is set to close. KPIX

Luna said he feels bad for his workers who just found out about the closure on Friday.

One of the employees, Erik Burnette, said everyone has an uneasy feeling about what's going on with the economy that would cause so many popular, longtime businesses to suddenly become unsustainable.

"I've talked to a lot of businesses and their profits are down -- in half -- and they don't know how they're going to survive. So, everybody's just kind of holding on," he said. "It's gotten to where people can't really understand how the workings of the economy are but they just have a feeling that something is not right."

That's a feeling shared by the customers. Jody Woods traveled from Pittsburg at least once a week, buying cakes for himself and several of his friends.

"This means something," he said sadly. "It means a whole lot because no more Taste of Denmark."

Oakland resident Kim Kuesel agreed, "It's like an iconic part of Oakland. It's just tragic to lose this."

Wayne Young may have loved the pastries when he was five years old but, as an adult, he came to appreciate the feeling of the place.

"It's everything about it. It's what it stands for, it's the food, it's everything," he said. "It's sad that a place like this is going to be lost in Oakland. Oakland loses so many things. It can't lose something like this."

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