A family-run business since 1981, the specialty wholesale bakery began as a retail bakery business specializing in European pastries.
The new division of the bakery will focus on natural items, including coffee cakes, brownies and cookies. Owner Anna Bakalinsky said the idea for the new
line started with its customers, many of whom are looking for more healthful options while still enjoying baked products.
The company used some of the items from Mila’s European Bakery line reformulated with natural ingredients for the Anna’s Naturals™ division. Some of the products are primarily being sold to area supermarkets through local distributors.
"So far, reception has been very positive," Bakalinsky said. "I have done demos, and people just love it."
Mila’s European Bakery was established by Bakalinsky’s parents Mila and Mark Kofman as a corner bakery store providing fresh, scratch baked products. The bakery provided a full line of bakery products to its customers and at one point offered catering, a restaurant and a deli.
Natural wholesale niche
Bakalinsky said they closed the retail location in 2002 to concentrate on the wholesale side of the business. "It was difficult to say good-bye and let customers know the news. People developed traditions with us through the years," she said.
The bakery’s loyal following has carried through to the wholesale side of the business, and the bakery still serves its retail customers. "People still call in phone orders," Bakalinsky said. "We’re still strong. We’re known for quality, high-end bakery."
While her parents continue to be involved behind the scenes, Bakalinsky said her mom’s work ethic and customer loyalty are values her mother instilled in her. Building relationships through the years also has been an important piece of the business’ success.
"The heart-warming part of this job is seeing people from different generations enjoy our products" she said.
(Adapted from the Wisconsin Baker’s Association newsletter.)