Kehillat Israel History

To Collect, Illustrate, And Preserve The Memories


Article about the sale of the Harris Bakery

Posted by kehillatisrael on October 6, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Grand Opening of a Tradition

While the headline is a contradiction in terms, it's still the truth.

The ribbon cutting is at Harris Bakery, Shenandoah, a landmark

in the community for 74 years, which just changed ownership.

On hand for the ceremony are, from left, Sam Schutawie, SCIDA;

Tom Gallagher, Manager Main Street Program; Mayor Connie

Reese, Jerry and Theresa Alshefski, new owners; Ethel and

Mendel Harris, former owners; Jean Sherako, president Merchants

Association; Henry Zale, secretary Chamber of Commerce.

The Harris Bakery business did not happen overnight.

It took years of hard work and patience beginning in 1916

when Sam Harris, Mr. Harris' father, of New York City,

set up a tiny shop at the rear of South Market Street.

Within that period, the bakery's reputation grew as it

did, and the need to expand became evident.

Two years later in 1918, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Harris

purchased a building at 222 W. Centre St., from Thomas

Manley and converted it to a substantial sized bakery.

Within another two years, the business continued to

grow rapidly, necessitating the purchase of a

six-family dwelling from Mrs. Theresa Macrees. An

annex structure, 30x75 feet, was erected, affording Sam

Harris his long awaited adequate space.

Finally, on April 12, 1937, the dream was complete-a

new, modern bakery constructed of steel and brick, with

fireproof walls of tile that could be kept meticulously


The business continued to grow after World War II

when Sam Harris' son Emmanuel, known by many to this

day as Mendel, came home from the service, working

closely with his father in the business.

Baked bread, baked goods, the fanciest of wedding

cakes and the start of making a variety of donuts, in-

cluding the notorious pretzel donut, a long-time favorite

in the community, which still remains today.

The pretzel donut, the brain-child of Sam Harris, who

wanted to expand the line and automate the famous

donut, but because of the consistency of raised dough as

opposed to pretzel dough, each and every one of the

tasty-twists of fluffy sweet treats are made by hand.

It was the final dream of Sam Harris to expand again

and the decision to move to its present, .........

location at 11 W. Coal St. was made.

Yes, Sam Harris' dream came true, but he never lived

to see it materialize on West Coal Street.

At the present location for 26(?) years, the enterprising

roots of Sam harris reached out to the community

before, continuing to grow through integrity and

ambitions of his son, Mendel.

As`Mrs. Harris pondered the change of hands, she

confidently said. "The baton has been passed to a

wonderful family - the Alshefskis."

So how do the new owners feel about "their" dream

coming true and good fortune? "Very excited." said

Mrs. Alshefski.

The warehouse and distributorship will be retained,

along with the guarantee that Harris baked goods will

remain the same, with the anticipation of expanding

with some additional specialty items in the future.

They will sell regular coffee and decaffinated, hot

chocolate in the winter, tea, including herbal, to take out

and they will even offer a line of potato chips and


The Alshefski's children are quite familiar with the.

business Mrs. Alshefski said. "After school they all had

chores" in helping with the distributorship.

The Alshefski's have five children, Jerry Jr. .....

Joseph, who work closely with their father; .....

Gabriel, who operates the House of Bargains store in

Hazleton. Linda Kurczewski and Loretta, who look

over the office duties at the Alshefski Enterprises

warehouse. Last but not least, there are three grand-

children. Also pitching in a helping hand with the

business are Jerry Jr.'s wife, Barbara Anne and

Joseph's wife Barbara Grace.

Mrs. Alshefski, in reference to the town of Shenandoah

and its people said, "We both like Shenandoah - wa...

the people and feel safe."

The Harris bakery crew will also remain the same.

Those responsible over the years in keeping ...

the business operating are: Joseph Cooney, Helen D....

Phillip Dubiansky, Al Endrick,Judy Heffner, R...

Karahuta, Jane Katotick(?), Marlin Keiter, Joseph K....

Christine Koncaler, Mary Krivitsky, Ed mack, Do...

Miller, Sam Natalo, Gale Nicholas, Benjamin Og....

Ronald Ogonek, Ed Perlinsky, Charles Rakum (?), ...

Sadusky, Allan Salter, Isabelle Schlitzer, Camill...

cavage and Carmella Toborowski.

A warm and friendly invitation on behalf of the Harris

and Alshefski families is extended to everyone to participate

in the grand opening celebration planned for October 2..




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