SMALL BITES: Sisters McMullen passes the torch to Geraldine’s Bakery

STICKING AROUND: Employees from The Sisters McMullen are helping with upgrades to the building and will stay on with Geraldine’s Bakery, including Emily McCarthy, who will continue in her role as cake decorator. Photo by Carrie Eidson

After being for sale since last spring, The Sisters McMullen is no more. Fred Dehlow, a second-generation bakery owner from Long Island, N.Y., took ownership of the property from Andrea McMullen on Oct. 31 and has temporarily closed the familiar dark-red Merrimon Avenue storefront to rebrand the business. A soft opening is set for Monday, Nov. 18 with a grand opening slated for after Thanksgiving.

“My idea is to make it into a full-service, full-line bakery,” says Dehlow. “Everything will be made from scratch and offered at an affordable price. I want to be the traditional neighborhood bakery.”

Dehlow says he plans to sell freshly baked bagels, rolls, Danish pastries, pies, cakes and cookies, along with sandwiches — especially of the breakfast variety — all made using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, including flour from Carolina Ground.

All Sisters McMullen employees will stay on board, with Emily McCarthy continuing to decorate cakes and Cassie Hettler working on creating some new gluten-free options. Dehlow is buying all new equipment, including two ovens with stone decks for bread, and new display cases. He’s changing the store’s name to Geraldine's Bakery in honor of his mother, who grew up in an orphanage in Thomasville, N.C. Dehlow learned the bakery business from his father, who began his career as an apprentice in Germany before moving to the U.S.

Dehlow owned a bakery on Long Island for 25 years before shifting into semiretirement eight years ago. Since then, he and his wife, Rosemary, have spent time traveling; they were visiting friends in North Carolina when they fell in love with Asheville. So when their daughter and her family decided to relocate here, they felt it was time for a change.

Dehlow thinks this is a good place for him to start baking again, and he appreciates the focus on local sustainability. “Asheville's 'go local' attitude is one of the things that drew me to this area,” he says.

Rosemary’s background is in managing nonprofit organizations, and both say they’d like to give back to the community by offering job training opportunities and apprenticeships at the bakery. “I would love to pass on the knowledge I received from my father,” says Dehlow.

McMullen, meanwhile, says she feels good about the change and even turned down other offers on the property because she liked Dehlow’s vision. The reason for selling the business, notes McMullen, was that she’s ready for a break — and perhaps a new challenge. “I'm tired,” she explains. “I feel like it's time for something new.” — Gina Smith


Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Webmaster
Mountain Xpress Webmaster Follow me @MXWebTeam

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.