Award winning Walnut Creek Bakery closing

UPDATED: It’s on their website: Walnut Creek Bakery, a multiple winner of Best Bakery in Diablo magazine’s annual Best of the East Bay contest, will be shutting its doors as of this Friday, after 10 years in business. In an interview last week with Diablo magazine’s Ethan Fletcher, owner Denise Vickers said she and her landlord, Patrick Ellwood, had been unable to agree to terms for a new lease. There was talk about the bakery staying open, with Vickers selling the business to Ellwood and stepping aside.

But then on the website is this note from Vickers and employees:

“It is with great sadness that Walnut Creek Baking Company will be closing our doors on August 31 2012. We will miss all of you; our customers, friends, and family that have supported us and helped us grow over the last 10 years. It’s been a pleasure.”

In Diablo magazine’s July issue, celebrating yet another win for her Locust Street bakery, Vickers admitted that she had taken a risk opening her business. “There’s an 80-percent failure rate for restaurants within the first two years.”

Over 10 years, the beloved bakery had established itself as the go-to destination for people with sweet tooths and wanting to buy yummy and snazzy-looking special occasion cakes and pies,  Diablo credited Vickers’ “dedication to made-from-scratch baking with A-list products.”  Vickers’ staff and customers prompted her to create an anniversary cookbook full of favorite Walnut Creek Baking Company recipes: chocolate chip cookies, chocolate crackle cookies, gingeroos, cupcakes and its special holiday pies and cakes.

When we threw a birthday party for my mother’s 80th, we bought a light, airy white cake with strawberry chiffon filling — one of the best cakes I have ever eaten.  

The Baking Company’s reputation extended beyond Walnut Creek, and Vickers’ artistry helped put Walnut Creek on the culinary map.

One has to wonder what’s going on in town when some of our most beloved food institutions find themselves forced out of business, often because of issues with landlords.  It wasn’t too long ago that Pinky’s Pizza and Sunrise Bakery Cafe had to close their doors of their South California Boulevard locations due to vexing landlord issues.

9 thoughts on “Award winning Walnut Creek Bakery closing

  1. I'm really sad about this! Do you know anything about who owns this property? I would love to send a note to them!!!
    This happened also to my beloved Poppy Fabrics in Oakland. The owners of the business decided not to just shut the whole thing down instead of relocating, and the building sits abandoned and vandalized to this day!!
    How very sad 😦


  2. It is most disheartening that this has happened. Denise Vickers ran a special place and the employees were great. I hope they can find work and Denise will return to the local scene.

    Landlord issues indeed!! It seems they want to jack up rents and when local businesses can't afford it they are driven out. Some remain vacant like Pinky's and Sunrise. Our favorite Caffe delle Stelle was forced out by a greedy landlord and the landlord may have won with Opa now there. Who cares what happened to the prior owners and employees…. we do. Its a sad testimonial to the lust almighty dollar.
    Pete Johnson


  3. This is really upsetting, it is hard enough for independent coffee shops/bakeries to stay open in the face of competition from chain shops, but for a thriving and well-loved company to be forced to close because of landlord issues? It's unacceptable, we all work hard to support local businesses, the property managers should bear that responsibility as well.


  4. Small business gentrification. That's what happens when the plan is to make North Main the Rodeo Dr. of the East Bay. Pretty soon only corporate chains need apply in the WC.


  5. Hello all,
    I updated the post with some more information, courtesy of Diablo magazine, which reported that Vickers had been in talks with the landlord about selling them business to him and keeping the bakery open. There was a disagreement about the terms of the lease.


  6. I don't like the gentrification etc of WC either, but how long should a landlord subsidize a tenant, assuming that is the case? Where does the demand for higher priced Retail which results in hugher priced remts come from? Making the landlord the villain isn't necessarily the answer.


  7. Another one bites the dust….makes me wonder about the future for the few unique shops left in downtown Ming Quan comes to mind.


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