Angie Wieck, Published August 14 2013
Owners of Quality Bakery in Fargo thinking about retirement
Owner Pete Fendt hopes to see the bakery continue to thrive for many more, but at age 59 he is also thinking about its future without him.
Recent thoughts of retirement prompted Fendt and his wife, Marcene, to list the bakery for sale.
What the Fendts want customers to know is that they have no plan to close the business. They continue to secure new wholesale customers and have accepted wedding cake orders for more than a year out.
“Our intentions are to continue to bake and to transition into a new owner while still servicing our accounts and customers,” Fendt said.
Fendt is also concerned with the future of his employees. “We’ve got such a great crew that works here. … For them to continue on and be part of Quality Bakery is really kind of the goal we’re hoping for.”
When a buyer is secured, Fendt estimates the transition could take up to two years. “It took me 45 years to learn what I know, and I’m still learning stuff every day,” he said.
Quality Bakery opened in downtown Fargo in 1923. Fendt knows little about the first owners except that their last name was Erickson.
Al Froiland purchased the bakery from the Ericksons in 1944.
Fendt’s father, Erwin Fendt, joined Quality Bakery in 1956. The elder Fendt started baking in Germany at age 13 and worked for many bakeries there before moving to America with his wife and family.
Froiland retired in 1969 and sold the business to his son, Leslie Froiland, Fendt and fellow baker Charles Houtkooper.
The partners built the current location at 2532 S. University Drive in 1972. The 8,000-square-foot building was built large enough so baked goods could be produced for other locations in downtown Fargo and Moorhead, which later closed.
Fendt remembers his father teaching him how to run the oven when he was 14. He learned from him for several years before starting full time at the bakery in 1973.
He bought into the business in 1982 when Houtkooper retired. He and Marcene eventually bought out his father and Froiland, too.
While the couple continue to enjoy the business, Fendt admitted it leaves little time for anything else. From graduation and wedding cakes, to buns for summer barbecues, to holiday baking and so on, the bakery is busy year-round.
The couple will take their first vacation in five years when they visit Disneyland with their family next month.
When they return, their attention will turn to planning events to celebrate the bakery’s 90th anniversary in October. Customers can anticipate samplings of some of their most popular items such as hand-cut cake doughnuts, monster cookies, wedding cakes and rhubarb cupcakes.
Readers can reach Forum reporter
Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501