Some might say a story couldn’t be written more “full-circle” than this one.
After decades of being run through the caring hands and heart of MaryAnne Heath, Moss Rose bakery is now back with the Raduechel family.
Randy Raduechel, along with his wife Chandra and youngest son Ryan are now the permanent faces one might see on any given day when passing by the Oakdale staple.
Now about six weeks in, since taking over the keys on March 31, the family chose not to close the business for the transition. Their approach: testament to the work ethic once demonstrated by his grandfather and previous owner Don Raduechel.
Shirt sleeves rolled up and sleep deprivation put aside, son Ryan, a former employee of Heath, spent two days “in the trenches” learning from the owner prior to her retirement.
“It’s going great,” the couple’s youngest son shared. “I had a two day crash course and here we are.”
Ryan’s first time working alongside Heath was during his years at Oakdale High School, as the bakery was his first employer.
“I came after school. I washed dishes, cleaned the floors, did the mats,” the OHS 2007 alum said, noting this slowly progressed to coming in early, helping longtime resident baker Randy (no family relation), assisting with baking “and all of that.”
“Our family loves to cook,” Chandra shared, illustrating a story of her two boys picking a recipe from a children’s cookbook when they were young, then checking the pantry and grocery shopping for what they would need.
“The boys grew up with cooking because I love to cook,” she said.
While mom may like to cook, Ryan is finding his way around the brick oven and all the other mainstays of the back of the bakery to turn out the pastries the community, as well as travelers, have come to love.
“I’m doing all the pastries, I’m doing the donuts,” Ryan said, noting his 2:45 a.m. start time to fire up the oven. “It’s been a few 15, 16 hour days. It’s just part of it.”
“One of the things that Randy said, when I was talking to him about Ryan and how he’s doing, he said he just naturally has that talent,” Chandra added.
While Ryan acknowledges the compliment from the long time baker, he noted he doesn’t yet feel himself worthy of the title as he continues to learn as he goes.
“Nothing has changed,” Randy Raduechel said, regarding recipes of the baked goods. “The goal is not to change anything. Obviously the menu is going to change a little, but the quality is going to stay.”
Chandra added that lunch will continue to be served, as will some breakfast items. Different than the pastries and baked goods, this is where the clientele may seem a bit of change. While everything served continues to be fresh, as it always has, Chandra has opted to use some of her recipes on certain items versus continuing with the ones already in place.
“At the end of the day it is about customer service and if the customers aren’t happy, that’s a problem,” Chandra said of maintaining the fresh quality. “If I wouldn’t eat it at home, I’m not going to do that here.”
“It’s a lot to absorb and a lot to do, but we’re committed to keeping it as it’s always been,” Randy said of the family business.
The family also shared their feeling of good fortune by way of the staff, who all remained on with the new owners. An acquisition which has benefitted them multi-fold, as they try and navigate the ins and outs of the daily business.
“I wanted the bakery back in the family, because I wanted it back in the family,” Chandra said of the recent acquisition.
“I didn’t want him to feel obligated to do that (leave his current job),” she continued about son Ryan, joining the family at the bakery. “He didn’t. Watching him … he was very close to his great grandfather. Seeing him back there, makes me think of Donny a lot.”
Ryan shared of the many things he’s enjoyed in the transition of employment has been visiting with the customers and hearing fond stories of his great-grandfather. More on the humble side, the youngest Raduechel son is demonstrating that the gift may just be in the DNA.
“You should say you brought the sugar cookie back,” proud father Randy encouraged his son. “My grandfather made sugar cookies. When I was a kid there was a sugar cookie, just a plain sugar cookie.”
Not to be confused or compared to the well-known frosted cookie which still remains a bakery staple, the newly added sugar cookie is in addition to the frosted cookie which is still being made exactly the same.
Another item which remains the same is the option for method of payment: cash or check. The new owners shared that the building has restrictions which makes bringing on a more modern Point of Sale system a bit more challenging than the consumer may realize.
“It’s been the way of business for 119 years,” Randy said of the cash or check option, adding the current focus is to dial into the bakery business and the customers’ needs.
Of the many things the family has learned in the past few weeks, Randy shared he had no idea how much volume the bakery did on a daily basis from baked goods to the lunch time crowd.
“It’s just a learning process for us,” Chandra shared. “We’ve had a few people that have been a little frustrated, but as a whole I think the community has been pretty good.”
“It’s just that pride of being able to carry on the family name and the legacy,” Randy summarized. “That’s really what it’s all about.”