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Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008

Cookie Emergency

U Bake to the rescue

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You pull up in front of your child’s bustling elementary school, and with the slide of the minivan door your 8-year-old suddenly remembers that he needs to bring cookies to school tomorrow—a lot of cookies. Driving to the middle school to pick up your preteen you make a mental inventory of how much butter, sugar and flour is stored in your kitchen and say to yourself, “OK, I think I can do this.”

At the middle school, however, the slide of the minivan door brings the need for more baked goods—this time for the soccer team’s bake sale. You do the math and realize that, on top of all of your normal responsibilities, there isn’t enough time in the day to go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients, make the dough and bake, too. Instead, you visit U Bake, a bulk food store that sells an extensive variety of frozen dough and pastries, as well as dry goods and baking supplies.

U Bake was developed by Utecht Bakeries in Wausau 14 years ago. In October of 2006, Gerry and Stacy Wergin created SJW Bakeries LLC and began a trademark relationship with the U Bake business. The Wergins now have three Wisconsin stores—in Oshkosh, Greenfield and Brookfield—and anticipate opening three more in the near future.

U Bake offers a variety of delicious frozen pies, turnovers, strudels, cinnamon rolls, puff pastry sheets, pizza crust and bread dough, an assortment of thaw-andserve cheesecakes, cupcakes and sheet cakes, and more than 50 types of frozen bulk and preformed cookie dough. In addition, U Bake carries a wide selection of entrees, including stuffed pasta, macaroni and cheese, pizza calzone, beef pasties and ready-to-bake lasagna. Various nationwide bakeries, like Rich’s, Olesen’s Family Bakery and Katy’s Kitchen, supply U Bake’s frozen foods. While each U Bake carries the same core selection of products, each store has its own look and carries different products to accommodate their respective markets.

With a moniker like “U Bake,” an impressive collection of baking supplies is a must and U Bake certainly delivers with its fresh frostings, specialty flour, pie fillings, gelatin and colorful candies and decorations. The stores’ wooden shelves are stocked with dry goods like Bayfield Spice Co.’s spices and rubs, Badger popcorn, New Hope Mills pancake mixes, Mrs. Miller’s homemade pasta and McDowell Family jams, as well as bulk grains, nuts, beans, dried fruit and vegetables, soup bases and mixes.

Anyone who suffers from celiac disease, gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy knows how difficult it can be to find a decent selection of gluten-free foods. U Bake currently sells gluten-free frozen foods and the Wergins anticipate having a wider variety of these products in their stores by the middle of March.

“Our customer base is very broad,” Gerry Wergin says. “We have everyone from single moms to moms with a family and career, all the way up to the elderly. We have something for just about anyone. Basically, if you love to have fresh-made products at home, but lack the time or ability, U Bake is there to help. If you don’t need a large meal, 99% of our products are portioned to be pulled as you need them.”

By visiting U Bake, you avoid the social faux pas of soccer moms everywhere—the donation of (gasp!) storebought cookies to a bake sale—and the time-consuming process of making your own dough. When those Power Parents ask, “Did you bake these yourself?” you can answer honestly, “Why, yes, I did.” Problem solved.

U Bake Greenfield: 4920 S. 74th St., Greenfield, (414) 817- 0088. U Bake Brookfield: 18900 W. Bluemound Road, Brookfield, (262) 797-6826

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