Quality Bakery closes for good today
FARGO--Owners Pete and Marcene Fendt baked their last pastries at Quality Bakery this morning. When the couple announced in March that the business would close, they figured they would be doing it alone, but that was not the case. Pete Fendt said...
FARGO-Owners Pete and Marcene Fendt baked their last pastries at Quality Bakery this morning.
When the couple announced in March that the business would close, they figured they would be doing it alone, but that was not the case. Pete Fendt said it's just another testament to what a great group of people they employed that they stuck around until the end.
Quality Bakery opened downtown in 1923. Not long after the current location was built on South University Drive in 1972, representatives of Cook Sign Co. approached the Fendts about setting up a large neon sign. Fendt said Cook Sign wanted to repurpose a sign they had initially built for McDowell's Big Boy, a former drive-in restaurant here. The idea was to give it some fresh paint and, essentially, replace the burger with a donut. The Fendts agreed and the iconic sign has been an anchor of south Fargo ever since.
With Quality Bakery closing, the future of the sign is uncertain. The Fendts do not own the sign. They first leased it from Cook Sign, and later from Indigo Signworks after Indigo bought Cook.
Indigo Signworks vice president and partner Tom Nelson said he is willing to give the sign to the Fendts as long as they pay for the expense of taking it down. Fendt said he is taking some smaller signs and souvenirs, but he does not have a place to put the large sign.
The men are both open to suggestions and offers. Nelson cautions, however, that depending on the intended use, costly upgrades may be required to bring the sign up to compliance with Underwriter Laboratory and electrical codes.
He hates to see the sign go.
"Signs are a part of our landscape. They're how a lot of us recognize where we are at," Nelson said. "It's always a little bittersweet when you see a changing of an era."
Fendt said he and Marcene will not be catching up on years of lost sleep just yet. On Friday morning, he'll start disassembling ovens and mixers being sold to a bakery friend in Chicago. On Monday, the couple will open the doors to the public for what he calls a "modified rummage sale," where people can come in and make offers on everything that is left. They agreed to have the building cleared of just about everything but the water heater before the new owners move in.
Once that is done, the couple plan to take some time off to do some traveling. Pastries will never be far from their thoughts, however, because Fendt said visiting other bakeries is one of their favorite things to do on the road.