GOSHEN — Connie Kramer won’t be serving coffee or baking tasty sweets for the first time in 56 years.
Kramer, the former owner and current employee of Dutch Maid Bakery in Linway Plaza, is retiring.
Her friends, family and co-workers gathered at the bakery Thursday to congratulate her on her retirement.
Her career at the bakery started in 1964 when she was 19.
“I started right out of high school and went to Dutch Maid Bakery and got hired almost on the spot. I’ve enjoyed meeting the public, all of my customers, co-workers and all of my employers I’ve gone through all through the years. I just enjoy meeting the public and meeting the customers that come in for coffee every day, and our regulars.
“I have really enjoyed every minute of it too. I’ve enjoyed all of my bosses, they have all been very good to me and that is what really kept me here … We have a lot of faithful customers that I’ve really enjoyed waiting on over the years. It’s just been my passion,” Kramer said. “A time has come that I have to retire. ... I’m so thankful that they’ve kept me on all these years. I feel like an antique fixture around here, but that’s OK. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
Kramer and her husband, Don, sold the bakery to Marv and Georgia Yoder in 1981 after operating it for 23 years. She stayed on and worked through ownership changes until the present.
Current owner Lyle Miller said he is grateful for the time and effort Kramer has put in over the years.
“Connie has been with us for the last four years. We basically say we inherited her, which is a good thing. She had tons of experience. … When somebody has been with a company for that long, that’s something that we want to make sure that we celebrate. She hasn’t worked for me the whole time, but she has worked and owned it herself and has done a lot of work throughout the years for it.”
Kramer’s daughter, Tammy Showalter, of Syracuse, added that over the years many family members had jobs at the bakery.
“My stepsiblings and their kids, gosh, cousins and so forth, have worked, whether it was this building or uptown in Goshen years ago. Even myself, when they ... had sidewalk days. I don’t know how many years ago that was,” Showalter said.
Kramer chipped in, “It was a long time ago.”
Unwilling to just say goodbye, Kramer said she will be stopping in at the bakery for coffee and to chat with the staff and customers.
“(It) is going to be very nice that I can just come and go when I want,” she said. “Get up and go when I want and when I want to do it. It’s been a lot of years since I’ve been able to do that, but that’s OK; I have a lot of life ahead of me.”