By Tanya Dennis
Last July, the Neldam’s Bakery employees were informed that the owners were walking away after eighty-one years. The employees were given two days notice. Neldam’s which had been an Oakland institution located at 34th and Telegraph, was famous for their Chantilly dream cakes, “home-made” yeast rolls and sugar free cakes, brownies, and muffins.
In August, the owners of the building approached three employees, Mark Davis, Rigo Luna and Cathy Caulkett, who between them had over a hundred years of employment at the bakery and asked them if they would be interested in forming a cooperative.
They agreed and “Taste of Denmark” opened its doors with old favorites and new offerings. French pastries, Tiramisu squares, Neapolitan Cake with Bavarian whipped cream and strawberries and a Danish Waffle Butter cream with raspberry jam are just a few of the new offerings, and currently the bakery has a wonderful array of Easter Baskets full of wonderful cookies and candies.
Caulkett says “We received a 40% share in the company with eight other employees receiving a 1% share. We don’t work any harder because we always had a good work ethic; the difference is we feel like a family operated business now.”
A Taste of Denmark, because of the downturn in the economy, has experienced a bit of a struggle due to the increase in the cost of ingredients, the cost of gas which limits their customer’s mobility. Despite these factors, with the new recipes, dedicated old-timers and local neighbors, A Taste of Denmark has experienced an increase in business. One change that is noticeably perceptible is the warmer, friendlier atmosphere and larger selection of delectable baked goods. Caulkett said customers should come in this weekend to “get a colorful delicious Easter Basket or their yeast rolls to compliment your holiday meal.”