Traverse City Record-Eagle


February 6, 2014

Potter's Bakery celebrates 85 years

TRAVERSE CITY — There's something about Potter's Bakery that draws Larry Street through its doors every morning, a trek he's made for more than 30 years.

It might be the nose-tickling fresh doughnuts. Or the crisp aroma of a good cup of coffee. Or maybe the smiling faces of the two women at the store's counter who greet him by name every day.

It's all that and much more, he said.

The family-owned bakery made its reputation on consistency and friendly service for 85 years — since it opened in February 1929, said Kathy Potter, co-owner of the company that now boasts two stores -- on Eighth and Hall streets in Traverse City.

Norm and Julia Potter opened the first store on Front Street in 1928, but soon were forced to close because of sugar rations. After a short hiatus, the couple re-opened their namesake bakery and it hasn't closed since.

Street waited in a short line at the Eighth Street shop on Wednesday morning, shook off the chill from the street, and eyed two display cases that burst with row-after-row of fresh doughnuts, fritters and Danish.

Customers ahead of him crouched to poke at the cases, seemingly desperate to narrow their selections from all the delicious choices.

Fannie Wyckoff flitted from side-to-side behind the counter alongside her coworker, Linda Carrell, and filled bags and boxes with pastries.

Potter watched while the racks of doughnuts emptied amid the morning rush.

She is quick to point out that the bakery's recipes changed little since her husband Mike's grandparents opened the first Potter's Bakery.

The only changes since then have been minor tweaks to recipes when ingredients disappeared from the market.

"People don't like change," she said. "We only change when suppliers change."

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