bake - July 2018 - 16
a century of
The RBA celebrates 100 years with a
sweet tradition of embracing change.
"In cooperation with the Dunwoody Institute we have
Today, Roeser's Bakery continues to forge on under the
gathered the most practical and scientiﬁc talent and
day-to-day management of Roeser's son, John Roeser
offer real service to any baker who has a problem to
IV. When asked how the family bakery has survived
solve. All of us are of the trade, with a feeling of fel-
107 years in the same location, John Roeser III offers a
lowship toward every baker here at this exhibit."
simple explanation. "Each time there's been a change in
the neighborhood, there's been a new John," he says.
Opening remarks by RBA president Eugene Lipp at
the 1922 annual convention of the Retail Bakers As-
Every decade of change required a slightly different
sociation of America
approach to doing business. Each new generation
ushered in a fresh approach to customer service
Founded in 1911, seven years before the Retail
and product offerings, as the older generation took
Bakers of America ﬁrst organized, Roeser's Bakery
a graceful step aside. All parties understood that
in Chicago still operates as one of America's oldest
change was inevitable, so it was best to embrace it
retail bakeries. Owner John Roeser III chalks up their
rather than ﬁght it tooth and nail.
success to adapting to the ever-changing neighborhood. When his grandfather John opened the bakery
In much the same way, the Retail Bakers of America
on North Avenue, the neighborhood was dominated
(RBA) has withstood the test of time by embracing
by Scandinavian, Norwegian and German immigrants.
change at every critical juncture along the way.
Sweet rolls, Danish, rye bread and cakes were the most
popular items. After World War II, the next big inﬂux
A rich history of community
to the city came from Poland. The bakery introduced
It was the spring of 1918, the same year World War
paczki during this time. By the 1980s, the neighbor-
I would end, when a movement in the United States
hood shifted again to predominantly Puerto Rican.
began to organize retail bakers into a national body.
Cakes for family celebrations gained importance.
On July 16 in Chicago, a temporary organization to be
16 < JUL 2018 | bakemag.com
PHOTOS COURTESY OF RBA, ROESER'S BAKERY, TERMINI BROS. BAKERY
BY JOHN UNREIN