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Pine River Bakery changes owners, keeps recipes

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Bob and Emily Fulton left the bakery business July 1, but the Pine River Bakery will continue to provide fresh baked goods to the area.

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The Fultons bought the Pine River Bakery from Al and Barb Klocke six years ago and have kept Pine River's bakery alive ever since. But after 83 years of combined bakery experience, the Fultons decided to turn in their aprons. That's where Julie and John Sigafus come in.

"I'm the bakery person and he's the delivery guy. He learned to fry dougnuts this week," Julie said.

Julie said they were looking to retire, too, but not in the same way.

"It's been a lifelong dream (to own a bakery). At this time in our life we decided we wanted to retire to something," Julie said.

When the Pine River Bakery was put up for sale, Julie and John saw an opportunity all the way from Superior, Wisconsin. With help from the Cass County Economic Development Corporation via telephone, Julie and John developed a business plan, financial projections and a loan structure before they made the move to Pine River two weeks ago.

On June 28, the Fultons officially retired, and on July 1, Julie and John took over the bakery.

"So far it's fun. I like it. I think it's going to be good," Julie said. "It's been very busy."

The Fultons are staying at the bakery for a few weeks to show them the ropes. Even when they move on entirely, the Fultons will leave behind all the favorite recipes that locals love.

"I think we're going to stick with the same line they had and add on some new items," Julie said.

With the change in ownership, the business will see additions.

"We brought the breads and buns back. Probably more wedding cakes, possibly fudge down the line. It's going to take time," Julie said. "I have a lot of recipes. I don't know when or which ones to try, but there will be different things."

Julie has 38 years of grocery store baking and deli experience in Superior, but business ownership will be new. Hours at the Pine River Bakery will remain the same, and the new owners will retain the employees who worked there under the Fultons.

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