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New bakery gives borough German accent

September 01, 1999

New German BakeryBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: RIC DUGAN / staff photographer




MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Barbara Smith, her English still thick with German, said she has "a good feeling," about her decision to open a bakery in downtown Mercersburg.

Mueller's German Bakery opens Friday at 5 S. Main St. on the town's public square.

Smith, 35, lived in Munich, Germany. Five years ago, when she came to Mercersburg to visit her sister, she met Brian Smith, her sister's husband's brother. A year later, she moved to Mercersburg and married him.

Smith was a nurse in Germany but had to change careers when she moved here. "I couldn't speak English," she said.

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Her sister encouraged her to open a booth at Jim's Country Market in Chambersburg, Pa., and sell German food. She ran a stand there until she bought out the business of a German woman who had run a booth for 15 years at the Hagerstown City Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings.

She added baked goods, using her own kitchen to bake made-from-scratch German cakes, hand-decorated cookies, breads, pies and rolls. "I spent 15 hours a day in my kitchen," she said. Her specialties were cappuccino cake, pear tortes and brotchen, a German hot roll.

It wasn't long before her customers from Hagerstown and Frederick, Md., started to encourage her to open her own bakery. Her husband joined the chorus.

Smith said she had been looking for a long while for a suitable location when she learned that the vacant store on the square was available. Its last tenant was a second-hand store. Before that it was a carpet store and before that a restaurant, Brian Smith said.

The couple have spent the last eight weeks renovating the space. They put in a new kitchen and a new floor, painted the walls and moved in the new baking equipment, including a commercial mixer.

The mixer is a welcome change from her old one. "I had to fill it 10 times to get enough for one recipe. This one does it all at once," she said.

"You should have seen the smile on her face the first time she used it," her husband said.

Smith said she will continue to run her stand at the Hagerstown market on Saturday mornings. In addition to her traditional offerings, the new bakery will have imported German chocolates, American-style baked goods made by one of her two employees, and eventually, after she gets "used to my routine," German-style deli foods.

She said the bakery will be open seven days a week - Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with shorter hours on the weekends.

"I have a lot of bills to pay," she said.

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