Employees revive landmark Danish bakery with co-op

September 10, 2010 4:17:06 PM PDT
An Oakland bakery that shut down after 81 years has been reborn. Neldam's Danish Bakery on Telegraph Avenue, in the city's Koreatown neighborhood, closed its doors back in July because of the bad economy.

Now that family-owned institution is an employee-owned business. It opened on Thursday.

A dozen former workers, from the baker to the bookkeeper have formed a co-op and are running what is now called Taste of Denmark.

Signs in the window were enough to draw a huge opening day crowd. The doors opened at 7 a.m. and two hours later, some of the items had run out.

Many of the returning customers are loyal fans of Neldam's. One woman told ABC7 she bought her wedding cake there back in 1937.

One man says he's been coming for the chocolate chip cookies since he was 5 years old.

The idea for the employee-run operation came from the owners of the building -- Sukhee and Kevin Yoo. She says she did not want her building standing vacant and asked her husband to try to get in touch with former employees and broach the idea of forming a cooperative business.

Mark Davis worked for Neldam's for 39 years as a baker and cake decorator. Now he literally has a piece of the pie. He believes this company will succeed because the employees are invested in its success and understand it is not a 9 to 5 job.

The official, grand opening is Oct. 11.


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