New owner, new location, same great taste.
April Brown is the new owner of Rambach’s Bakery and Fudge, now located at 65 South Peru St. on the south end of the City of Plattsburgh. She bought the business from Kristof Hertel in January and moved to the new location.
“I thought it was time for a change,” Brown said, noting it had been at the Cornelia Street location for more than 30 years.
Starting when she was 16, Brown worked with Jerry and Joan Rambach for 18 years during the time they owned the business.
“I learned to dip cookies. Jerry would always tell me, ‘faster, faster,’” she said.
After a hiatus, she also spent the last 18 months working for Hertel.
There are seven people who work in the bakery. It is largely a family affair as her niece, Jamie Bingham, is the manager; a nephew, David Senecal, is a baker; and her sister, Judy Provost, helps her with cake decoration.
An additional, Julian McDonald, made the move from the Cornelia Street location.
Thursday, Jerry was busy baking, as he has for years. Brown said he continues to move around the bakery as fast as ever.
“Jerry has come out of retirement to help me. He’s giving me all kinds of hints and tips,” she said.
That has provided a chance to bring back some of his original recipes, including the secret Australian Tea Cake formula.
The shop offers pastries, cookies, cakes, pies, chocolates, fudge, tourtiere and quiche. Coffee and tea are also available.
“We’re famous for our holiday cookie trays,” she said.
Brown noticed the new location as she drove by and stopped to talk with the owner. She liked the open and bright interior, which allows customers the chance to see the tasty recipes come to fruition.
It also allows for easier access than the previous location. They are bringing in new customers from the south end of the city.
“Things are going very well,” Brown said.
It took about three weeks to move the equipment and display cases to the new store. That includes a large metal bread paddle that adorns the shop, autographed by Jerry.
The last day of the move was extremely windy, and resulted in the Rambach’s signs blowing down.
“That was very ironic,” Brown said.
After several chances to buy the business, she pulled the trigger when she found out Hertel planned to close.
Joan said she is happy the Rambach’s tradition is going to continue. She met Jerry when they were both 19, and they have enjoyed their years together in the bakery business.
“I watched him make his first apple turnover,” she said.
The Rambachs have been in the bakery business for decades. Jerry’s father, Gerard Rambach Sr., immigrated to the United States from Plauen, Germany, in 1929. He worked in bakeries in Germany and the United States for years before he opened his first bakery in Spring Valley in 1939.
Jerry (Gerard Jr.) was born in 1940, and his father sold the original Rambach’s and opened a new one in Englewood, N.J., two years later. That business was lost in a fire in 1945, but the elder Rambach opened a new bakery in Bergenfield, N.J., in`1946.
That business was sold in 1951, and a new one was started in Fairlawn, N.J.
That was where Jerry started in the family business and he continued to work for his father when he opened a new bakery in Wayne, N.J., in 1956. Jerry struck out on his own when he opened a bakery in Wyckoff, N.J., in 1963.
Jerry eventually sold that shop and bought out his father. He and Joan ran that shop until they moved to the North Country in 1976.
After six years working in the bakery department of the Grand Union on Cornelia Street, Jerry opened Rambach’s International Bakery in 1981.
Brown said she plans to have a three-day grand opening celebration March 15-17. That will include free samples and a balloon burst, where customers who spend $5 get to pop a balloon to reveal a prize.
Rambach’s is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Payment is by cash, check or credit card.
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