BY LAUREN RAMSEYER
Downtown Bakery in Steubenville has recently teamed up with the Harmonium Project to offer Franciscan University students who show their student I.D. a 10 percent discount on their purchases.
The bakery was opened and has been owned, and operated by the Kamarados family since 1958.
“My dad and his partner started the business in 1958,” said Rikki Kamarados, current co-owner of Downtown Bakery along with her brother, John, and father, Alex. “They were working at a bakery in Weirton in their early ‘20s and the owner there said, ‘hey, there is a bakery for sale over in Steubenville and I think you two should partner up and go.’”
Once her father’s partner, George Kotch, decided to retire, Kamarados and her brother made the bakery a family-owned business.
“My father is almost 80 and still working,” said Kamarados. “It is completely family owned. I mean, even back then, there were four of us kids, and we all grew up working here.”
Before her father bought the bakery, there had already been a bakery at that location for many years. Kamarados estimates that there has been a bakery at that location for about 100 years.
“I am basically the office manager,” said Kamarados, while describing the family-business dynamic, “but I can back up my brother and decorate cakes if I need to.” Kamarados also said her brother is the head decorator and her father the head baker.
“My mother still comes in and helps close out the registers every night,” Kamarados added. “My niece and nephews are all starting to work too … they love coming in, especially when the four of them are together.”
Kamarados said their best sellers really depend on the time of year and the person you ask. Some favorites are donuts, mini-crème horns, Hungarian nut rolls, many types of bread, pies, cakes for all occasions and lots of cookies.
“We have a wide variety of cookies, not just chocolate chip and peanut butter,” said Kamarados. “Easter is coming up, so we are going to have egg-shaped cookies.”
Downtown Bakery also ships around the country and has even sent cookies to people deployed, said Kamarados.
“People don’t realize what’s downtown,” said Kamarados. “Even with the dilapidated buildings and everything, there are still some very viable (businesses). … As a kid I remember walking up and down the street and bumping into people, that’s how busy it was.”
Downtown Bakery is open Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 5 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed on Sunday. They are located at 151 S. Fourth St.