Cake lovers prepare to say goodbye to 'The Prolific Oven'

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Sad news, cake lovers. The Bay Area's iconic 'The Prolific Oven' bakery chain is closing its doors for good this week after nearly 40 years in business.

"I ordered three chocolate chocolates, and one of the carrot cakes, and we're just going to end up freezing them," said San Jose resident Laura Dearborn. "The fudge... is to die for."

The first bakery location opened in 1980 under original owner Harriet Spier, but has been owned by the Chan family since 1996. They say a labor shortage, combined with the rising cost of ingredients and operating in Silicon Valley played a role in their decision to shut down the business.

"Where am I going to go when I don't want to cook it myself? Or, when I want something special?" said Palo Alto resident Lynn Mannix. "I don't know where I'm going to go, so that to me is really an emptiness."

Co-owner Regina Chan says her family is touched by the outpouring of community support they have received since announcing the bakery would be closing.

"I was eight-years-old when my parents took over the Prolific Oven... I wasn't even tall enough to look over the counter," said Chan.

Chan told ABC7 News that it has been challenging to fill the bakery's open positions in recent years, because many candidates are choosing to work for in-house catering departments at nearby tech companies that can pay a higher wage.

"Everything is done by hand," said Chan. "All the weighing, mixing, putting the batter in the pans, decorating the cake, so it's very labor intensive."

Customers have been stopping by the remaining Palo Alto and Sunnyvale locations this week - not only to get their hands on a cake for future celebrations ahead of the closure on Saturday-- but to also express their gratitude to the staff.

"I have two girls that I raised here, and they always wanted a carrot cake from Prolific Oven," said Palo Alto resident Mary Nichols, Palo Alto resident. "Much better than I could bake, haha."

The Chan family's remaining restaurants in Sunnyvale - TAP'T Beer and Kitchen and Nom Burger - remain open for business.

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