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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Business Spotlight - Salem Square Bakery

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Salem Square Bakery prides itself on being able to make custom cakes to order. No matter what you or your child can dream up, they can make it an edible reality.
The smell of freshly made bread and doughnuts hits you as soon as you open the door of the Salem Square Bakery. Owners Diane and Jeff Van Buhler opened the bakery just 15 months ago, but they're still going strong.

"We've been here and stood the test of time. Our clients seem to be happy with what we've done for them, and our cake business is doing really well," said Diane Van Buhler. "We appreciate their patronage and we feel that we've had a lot of support from the community."

Originally from the Ann Arbor area of Michigan, the Van Buhler's moved to Salem with their young daughter in mind.

Wedding cakes and other special occasion cakes are also available.
"We wanted to move so that our daughter would form more permanent bonds down here, so our future grandchildren would grow up in a good place," said Diane. "When we first came down here, everything was so clean and pure. You go down to the creek and you can see the bottom. That's not common up north. Up there, you're a little afraid to go in the water, because you can't see what's in there, because the water is so cloudy."

Their daughter, Amber, recently graduated from Salem High School and was awarded several grants and scholarships and is looking forward to attending Williams Baptist in the fall.

Diane got started in baking by working alongside her mother. "My mom had a bakery in Michigan when I was in fourth grade. I would go in there to help and bag up the doughnuts for soldiers from the nearby air base, so that's sort of where I got started," said Van Buhler.

Although the bakery is well known for it's many doughnuts, pastries and fresh breads, it's their cakes that have developed a huge following in the area.

"I enjoy children's cakes more than anything. I love to see their faces when they come to pick up their cake and they get so excited. It's my favorite part," said Diane. "I have this one family whose children like to design their own cakes. Their kids will give me a list of things they want on their cake. Their little girl wanted a cake with a rainbow and frogs and cattails, and it came out really cute."

It's usually safest to give them a month's notice for large cakes, such as wedding cakes. "I might have to order special equipment, or something special that they pick out, and we need time to order it and have it shipped in for them and we don't want to have to worry about something like that at the last minute," said Diane.

But don't think it's all about sweets at the bakery - they have lunch covered too with hot sandwiches every afternoon.

"They come out of the oven around 11:30 a.m. and are usually gone by 12:30 p.m. We change that up every day, so you never know what kind of sandwiches we're going to have," said Diane. "Sometimes I roast a big turkey, and we'll have turkey sandwiches. Other times I'll get a pork loin and do barbecue. However, we always make pepperoni rolls, because those are a big favorite."

The Van Buhler's are also willing to help out local organizations with fundraisers and special events.

"There's a lot of organizations that contact us for different things and we try to be as supportive as we can," said Diane. "We did desserts for the high school senior lock-in, half of the desserts for the senior prom, and a cake for the local Relay for Life. If anybody in the community has a worthy cause, we try to be as supportive as possible."

So what's the best part of owning a bakery? According to the Diane, it's the people they meet everyday.

"We have met some really wonderful people in here, from all corners of the world. I had people in here from New Zealand the other day. They were traveling across the country and saw the bakery sign and decided to stop," said Diane.

So next time there's a need for a special occasion cake, or just a desire for a great doughnut, stop by the Salem Square Bakery and say "Hi" to Jeff and Diane. They'll be looking for you.

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