Sarkozy Bakery

Sarkozy Bakery, once a fixture in downtown Kalamazoo, MI, but destroyed by a furnace fire in February 2012, plans to reopen by the end of September, according to mlive.com.

The oven was purchased with part of the loan money put together by Keystone Bank, the Small Business Administration and the city of Kalamazoo along with fundraising money, according to owner Judy Sarkozy.

Among those who came forward to help after the fire was C. Mac Waldorf, co-owner of the Columbia Plaza Building on East Michigan Avenue, the bakery's new location. Waldorf's generosity includes not charging rent for the first six months and also paying for costs of the buildout and rolling the repayments into the rent.

"From the day of the fire on, this community has just held us in their arms and supported us," Sarkozy said. "They're always asking about the opening date."

The other four bakers, who own 5 percent each of the business — Nate Haroldson, Chris Vandenberg, Mike Root and Courtney Davis — said the new oven was a symbol of a new beginning.

"Everything at this point is still experimental," Haroldson said. "Cookbooks, recipes, there was no backup on a different server, everything was lost. But that's our goal: to recreate everything as best as we can with new equipment."

Another addition will include a bigger dining area, which the team hopes to experiment with soups, such as "the staples" chicken noodle and tomato, and possibly sandwiches. But Vandenberg stressed that bread will be the centerpiece in the lunch menu.

"It is a blessing in disguise," Vandenberg said of the new location. "Before, we wouldn't have had 80 people walk by in a week. Now we will have 80 people in the building itself."

Seeing the workers from Kandler Tool Company scoot the gigantic oven with forklifts and palette jacks through a hole in the back of the building reassured Sarkozy about reopening.

Encouraging emails from her baker family of five pushed her to go on, she said.

"Baking is a thrill for all of us. It's magic," said Sarkozy, who said she never plans to retire from baking. "Take water, flour, yeast and salt, and you get all kinds of bread. It's beautiful."