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Waterloo Bakery Closing after 60 Years

WATERLOO, IA. (AP)  A family-owned bakery that has waged sweet war on Waterloo waistlines for six decades has decided it’s finally time to stop making the doughnuts.

Johnson’s Bakery, which Herb and Marie Johnson opened in 1950 as the Dixie Cream Doughnut Shop, will close for good on Sunday, said their daughter Sharon King, who runs the business with her brother Dennis Johnson.

As word of the impending closure spread Friday, patrons lined up out the door for a last chance to sample their favorite pastries.

King said business was good, but she and her brother decided now was a good time to stop.

“We’re at that age,” she said. “I’m almost 70 and Dennis is 66, and it’s just time.”

Herb and Marie Johnson opened the bakery after moving to Waterloo from their native Kentucky, where they had trouble finding work.

Herb landed a job at a Waterloo meatpacking plant, and the couple also opened the doughnut shop. After moving to different spots, they settled on their current location in 1957 and expanded their offerings to include cupcakes, rolls, cookies, wedding cakes and other items.

Marie died in 1999 and Herb died in 2011.

King said she and her brother were always involved in the business.

“We were brought in as children; Dennis has probably worked production since he was 12,” she said. “We started out by making boxes and sweeping the floor. Dad always believed in keeping us busy and keeping an eye on us.”

The bakery now has about 30 full- and part-time employees, including family members.

King said retirement will let her spend more time with her husband, Aaron. She wasn’t sure what her brother would do but thought he’d enjoy a chance to slow down after years of rushing to keep the bakery operating.

“I think he’ll learn to have a whole cup of coffee,” she said. “He likes to travel. I don’t know if he has plans, but I know he’ll first relax.”

 
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