The year was 1954; Leon and Anna Achenbach aspired to starting their own bakery business. Anna was the daughter of John Bender whose bakery in Berks County was established during the depression years. When John retired, Anna’s brother continued management of Bender’s bakery, while Leon and Anna came to the Leola area.
In just a short time the Achenbach product line became the benchmark of quality in the "made from scratch" pastry products in this area. Their famous Long Johns, sticky buns, vanilla and pecan rings, pies and cakes won the acclaim of customers far and wide. Even today, when parents visit their children who have moved out of the area, they are reminded to stop at Achenbachs on the way!
In the early seventies Leon and Anna turned the bakery over to a daughter and son-in-law. Under George Ebersole’s leadership the business thrived and grew to the point of having a number of remote retail outlets and wholesale customers. In 1989 in connection with a major building expansion, a Deli was incorporated into the retail bakery store. But over the years it became increasingly difficult for George to operate the business efficiently and profitably. Thus Achenbachs Pastries Inc. was scheduled to close its operations at the end of 1996. However, a life-long friendship between George Ebersole and Earl and Anita Hess extended the life of the operation through their financial undergirding. In mid 1998, George retired from his owner/manager role and returned to his first love of baking for Achenbachs. The Hesses assumed ownership and leadership responsibility with a commitment to restoring the operation to a viable state while keeping the product line intact. Since 1998 a lot has happened, some visible, some behind the scenes.
The bakery production schedule has been restructured to shorten the time from "oven to customer". We have replaced or repaired much of our equipment. We have reconfigured our product line, eliminating those items for which there is little demand, thus obtaining improved operating efficiency.
Earl Hess has since passed which led to the business being purchased by the current leadership team. Ownership of the business was transferred June 1, 2002 to J. David Burkholder - President, Sharon Redcay - Exec. VP, Andrew Orrs – VP of Production and Daniel Peters – VP of Facility.
The new owners have continued the business as before, using only the best ingredients and baking the freshest products.
The foundation is now laid for a new Achenbach’s.
One that embodies the organizational necessities for a staff of over 30 persons, but also an Achenbach’s which looks very much like the original, holding tenaciously to those aspects of its culture that make it a warm and friendly place to pick up your favorite homemade pastries or to stop for a Long John and coffee as you begin your day.