Bakery expanding to Urbana

Springfield company to add 5th store.

Schuler’s Bakery will open a new store in Urbana next month, as company executives said demand for its products has continued to grow.

The new business, located at 684 Scioto St., will be the company’s fifth location when it opens at the end of March. Schuler’s will hire eight to 10 employees for the store.

Overall, the company employs about 70 people now, and the new store will increase that to about 80.

Despite a difficult economy, the company has looked for ways to reach new customers in recent years, including purchasing a new production facility at 1911 S. Limestone St., said Mike Peters, president of the 76-year-old Springfield company.

It has also reached out to other businesses such as Young’s Dairy in Yellow Springs and Sparky’s Pizza in Urbana to offer more locations where its products are sold.

Along with doughnuts, the Urbana store will sell cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pies, rolls, pastries, homemade noodles and a gourmet popcorn product introduced last fall.

The new bakery will be located in a building that previously housed a Subway and then an Our Hero Sub restaurant. Peters declined to say how much Schuler’s is spending on the renovation.

“We are completely remodeling from floor to ceiling and it will be completely new inside,” Peters said.

The business fills another previously vacant storefront, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for Urbana. She said Schuler’s will also likely work with the Champaign Technology and Employment Center to assist with the application process for new employees.

“They’re going to do great in that location, and obviously everybody loves their pastries,” Bailey said.

Schuler’s has had a presence in Champaign County since 2009, when its doughnuts became available at Sparky’s Pizzeria, 644 Scioto St. But the pizza business is also expanding to St. Paris and needed to focus more attention on its own products, Peters said.

Sparky’s will stop selling Schuler’s products March 2.

While Sparky’s only sold doughnuts, the new store will offer the full line of Schuler’s products. While the complete hours haven’t been decided, the new store will open at 6 a.m. every day, seven days a week.

“We need to have additional space so we can supply more product and make it readily available,” Peters said.

The Springfield company has steadily grown in recent years, and in 2011 moved its bakery operations from its 150-year-old East Main Street facility to a new production center and retail store at 1911 S. Limestone St.

The 13,600-square-foot center allows Schuler’s to produce three to four times the amount of goods than it could before the move. The Urbana store likely won’t require additional employees at the production center, Peters said, although more workers could be added if the company continues to grow.

In addition to the production facility and East Main Street store, the company has shops at 2968 Derr Road in Springfield and 289 Lafayette St. in London.

Peters attributed the company’s steady growth to several factors. Along with its wholesale business, Schuler’s has tried to find additional ways to sell its products. For example, the company has begun working with local companies that want to display their logos on Schuler’s baked goods. Doing so helps market the company during meetings and events, and helps Schuler’s as well.

Employees bake the items every night and deliver them to each location so they can be on the shelves by 6 a.m. None of the products contain preservatives, Peters said, and the company makes items by hand rather than using industrial machinery.

In addition, Peters said there is more interest in general about bakeries because of television shows like, “Cake Boss” and “Cupcake Wars.”

“People have more interest in it,” Peters said.