BERKELEY'S NEWS • SEPTEMBER 23, 2022

A 'bittersweet' ending: Virginia Bakery closes shop after 65 years of family ownership

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DAVID RODRIGUEZ | STAFF

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APRIL 11, 2018

After 65 years in the hands of the Erdmann family, the Virginia Bakery announced Monday that it will close April 28, leaving behind both a family and community legacy of sweets.

John Erdmann’s parents bought the bakery in 1953, when he was born. After the death of his father in 1979, John took over the bakery, and he and his wife Anne Erdmann have been running it ever since — but the couple has decided it’s time to close shop.

“It’s hard to let go of it,” John Erdmann said. “But I’ve been running it longer than they did. It’s time to move on.”

On a sunny day such as Wednesday, the bakery is bustling with customers in and out. Some have children in tow, their faces pressed up against glass displays filled with cakes, croissants and cookies. The bakery specializes in decorated cakes, especially ones fit for children’s birthdays.

John and Anne Erdmann run the restaurant together, with John Erdmann handling production and Anne Erdmann handling finance. Letting go of the bakery is bittersweet for the two owners, who are both turning 65 in May.

“It’s a tough decision but a good time to make it with us turning 65,” John Erdmann said. “The customers have been wonderful. … Everybody is saying goodbye in their way.”

John Erdmann recalls customers who have grown up with the bakery in the background — they came in as kids for Virginia Bakery’s cakes, and years later, they have returned as adults with kids of their own.

Katy Stonis has worked at Virginia Bakery for two years, and she too reflected on the closing as bittersweet.

“Anne and John deserve to take a break,” Stonis said. “I’m happy for them but sad it’s closing.”

Anne and John Erdmann are busier than ever right now but say that it’s a “good busy.” They have been working hard to keep the bakery running for the next couple of weeks, while also preparing for closing and saying goodbye to many longtime customers. After they retire, they plan to take some time for themselves to spend time with their children and grandchildren and travel.

Virginia Bakery takes up much of the corner of Virginia and Shattuck, and as of now, John Erdmann has no idea what will become of the space. Located in the Gourmet Ghetto neighborhood, the bakery has become a regular for many locals.

Adrian Ritoosh works at Berkeley Running Company down the street. As a frequent customer of the Virginia Bakery, he is not looking forward to its closure.

“It sucks — I go there all the time,” Ritoosh said. “It’s probably going to change the vibe of this block. Sugar makes people real happy.”

Stonis noted that Anne and John Erdmann, along with the many great customers she interacts with on the job, make the place so special.

“This is the perfect job,” Stonis said. “It’s a place where everyone comes to be happy.”

Contact Madeleine Gregory at 

LAST UPDATED

APRIL 12, 2018


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