When a single family has been pushing pretzels out the door of the same, small bakery for almost 100 years, there is bound to be some wear and tear.
Smales Pretzel Bakery recently announced it was working on renovations at the 210 Xenia Ave. shop. Fifth-generation owner of Smales, Emma Smales, wants to reassure long-time fans and customers that the bakery they’ve grown to know and love will remain the same — only with a few critical upgrades, including a cash register.
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“We are definitely in the early stages but we have slowly been working to improve the building over the last three years (since I took over),” Smales said. “We have rebuilt walls that were not originally built on the foundation. We replaced the roof last year, and this year we knew we wanted to redo the siding.”
If keen to the twist and turns of Smales Bakery’s history, it’s impressive that the renovations have been able to wait as long as they have. Since 1926, the little shop has thrived on selling just one thing: pretzels, accompanied by countless packets of yellow mustard.
The bakery began with German-born Rudie Schaaf opening Gem City Pretzel on Warren Street in 1906, not long after he arrived in Dayton as a boy in 1895. The shop’s current location at 210 Xenia Ave. dates back to 1926, when his daughter, Emma, moved it there and renamed it.
“I asked my dad what the bakery looked like before they put the siding up, and he didn't remember, which means the siding has been there for at least 60 years,” Smales said. “I was curious to see what was underneath the siding, so we took it off! As of right now, our plans are to clean up and patch the original brick and then paint it. The back half of the building was added on sometime in the ‘20s, so that will remain sided but we will be replacing the aluminum with something a little more attractive and durable. We want to do our part in making the East Side as attractive as possible, so while it's a slow process, we hope that these improvements will help the neighborhood as well as maybe make us stand out a little from the neighboring buildings.”