When I was a kid, we had a discount second-day Entenmann’s bakery outlet one town over. That place felt like the Oz of baked goods. My mom would take my sister and I when we could afford it, and we’d get to pick a treat. The possibilities seemed endless — frosted donuts, cinnamon swirl buns, cherry cheese danish, babka, crumb cake. It was never an easy decision. To this day when I see an Entenmann’s box in a store, I smile at what it represents — escape, respite, and empowerment for a little girl with big dreams in a small town.
Last month this world lost Charles Entenmann, the man who took his family’s local New York bakery to a national scale. The bakery was started in Brooklyn by his father, William, in 1898, the same year that the five boroughs came together to form the city of New York. The bakery was at 594 Rogers Avenue, now the site of Wyne Yard Wine Shop at street level with apartments above in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens neighborhood.
Charles made a life and a living by spreading joy through sugar, butter, and flour in simple white and blue boxes. He was known to be a generous, gracious, and gregarious spirit who in later years focused his philanthropy on healthcare and medical research.
RIP to a great New Yorker whose life’s work will always have a place in my heart.