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A lobby full of customers and a phone ringing off the hook were the order of business Tuesday, as 104-year-old Mobile bakery Pollman’s Bake Shop reopened after a two-month shutdown.
“Oh my God,” Rose Pollman said of the hectic level of business. “It’s been like that since we opened, nonstop.”
Pollman’s, which is in its third generation of family ownership under Rose and her husband Fred Pollman III, had a hard summer: In late July, the Alabama Department of Public Health ordered the flagship location at Broad and Virginia Streets to close, citing “roach infestation and gross insanitary conditions.” Pollman’s announced on social media that “we have some repairs being done in the kitchen that require us to hold off on any baking” and said the store would be back in operation soon.
Such shutdowns generally are not permanent. ADPH says that “In most instances conditions are corrected and the establishment can reopen within a few hours.” Pollman’s is one of about three dozen restaurant closures required by ADPH in the last 90 days.
At Pollman’s, corrective measures took longer. In early August, Pollman’s announced that “with heavy hearts” that the company was closing its locations in Spring Hill and downtown Mobile but said the Broad street location would reopen “soon.” After two months of work, that finally happened on Tuesday, following an inspection on Monday.
Rose Pollman and her daughter Michelle Pollman were among those diligently boxing bear claws, Danishes, custom cookies and other treats for the line of patrons stretching across the lobby. “I’ve missed this,” one patron was heard to say.
News of the shutdown “hurt us a lot but it is what it is,” said Rose Pollman.
Michelle Pollman said that some of the influx of customers on Tuesday consisted of people who’d previously patronized the other locations. She said she was “extremely grateful that people from our other two stores are willing to come here to come see us.”
“Mostly everybody was sad we had to close the other two storefronts, because they had been there so long,” Michelle Pollman said. “Other than that, everyone’s just excited that we’re not closing forever.”
The plan going forward is that “We’re going to bake and bake and bake and bake and bake,” said Rose Pollman. She said she plans to be an active part of the business for at least a couple more years.
“We are back with flying colors from the building inspectors and health department and we are open and ready for business better than ever,” said Michelle Pollman.
The first Pollman’s was opened in 1918 by Fredrick Pollman.
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