Milwaukie Pastry Kitchen, located in Milwaukie, Oregon is the state of Oregon's first Black owned and operated bakery. The bakery was owned and operated by Hurtis and Dorothy Hadley Sr. of Portland, Or. who in 1977, decided to go into business for themselves and purchased Milwaukie Pastry Kitchen, a bakery in downtown Milwaukie, Or. which had been closed for a year due to the former owner’s illness. The bakery's slogan after purchase became "Put a little Soul in your roll."
The full line bakery served multiple varieties of breads, pies, donuts danishes and cakes, many having been invented and created by The Hadley's themselves. Mulitiple variety of cakes, wedding, birthday, anniversary, over-the-hill, “gag” cakes and the like were served to Milwaukie and Portland metropolitan area. The bakery served TV news personnel, commissioners, dignitaries, politicians, mayors and common everyday folk.
Hurtis Hadley Sr. began his career in the food industry in the early 1960’s working as a baker’s helper for Bohemian Bakery and Restaurants. During this time Blacks were not allowed into the bakers union. A baker’s helper was part of the cooks union which paid less and had sub-standard benefits as compared to the bakers union. While working at the Bohemian, Hurtis continued his education and attended Northwest Business Trade School and earned a Good Agricultural Practices Certification.
After 5 years with the Bohemian and little to no opportunity for advancement, Hurtis took his skills to the Albertsons Supermarket grocery chain, where he initially applied for a produce department position. After a conversation with a personnel director, Hurtis decided to move in a more opportunistic career path and was accepted into a 3 year baker’s apprenticeship program which allowed him to take advantage of his extensive experience in the baking field with the Bohemian. He completed and graduated from the program in 2 years, making him the first Black person in the state of Oregon to be state certified as a journeyman baker.
Dorothy Hadley is a former licensed Cosmetologist and accomplished baker. As co-owner and head salesperson, her skills were an invaluable asset in her ability to manage the front end of the bakery. Her responsibilities included customer service management, managing of sales, ordering supplies, coordination of catering service, phone orders, hiring of sales girls and the daily setup of the bakery display area.
While some may say it operated for a bright yet brief period, history will forever remember Milwaukie Pastry Kitchen as Oregon’s first Black owned, managed and run bakery.
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