BEACHWOOD, Ohio — No opening in Cleveland was more anticipated in 2019 than that of Archie’s Hough Bakery.
After years of looking to move from its Lakeshore Drive location, Archie’s re-opened at 3365 Richmond Road in September 2019. Crowds lined up far out the door, and those who didn't get there early were often greeted with a “Sold out” sign. Clevelanders had been hungering for the treats Archie Garner learned to make in his 25 years as a Hough head baker: petit fours and butter cookies and coconut bars and white cakes and other beloved favorites from the bakery that opened in 1903.
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By spring, many locals were looking forward to their first Easter in years with Archie’s famous hot cross buns and daffodil cakes.
Then came coronavirus.
Archie’s Hough Bakery, like many local businesses shut down. On March 21, they hung a closed sign on their Facebook page, saying “Sorry, we are not taking Easter orders. We will temporarily close (for retail and phone orders) while the Covid-19 crisis gets under control.” On May 14, they shared another Facebook post, saying the bakery would remain closed through May.
Nothing since then. With no updates, some Clevelanders have begun to wonder if Archie’s will ever reopen.
3News reached out to Garner on Thursday. The answer is yes, just not quite yet.
“We are planning to reopen, hopefully next month,” said Garner. “We wanted to reopen earlier, but my family has been sick.”
Both Garner, 71, and his wife Valinda were diagnosed with COVID-19 in late April. His case was moderate, but Valinda was in the ICU for nine days, he says. “We have both been recovered for a long time, and she actually feels better than me now,” says Garner. “It was much worse than the flu — cough, fever, dizziness, hard time breathing.”
On top of their diagnoses, Garner says one employee on his small staff broke an arm, and another hurt her back.
“With Covid still so prevalent, we’ve been a little afraid to re-open yet. …. (Valinda) has the front of the store, so she has been a little hesitant.”
Garner, who says he is getting numerous inquiries from customers about reopening, considered adding delivery in recent months, but services like DoorDash are too cost prohibitive.
The Garners have been making preparations to go forward, however. They’ve kept up their lease, and received a small PPE loan to pay staff.
“We’re going to put up some barriers and markers on the floor to space people out, and allow only five people in at a time,“ says Garner. “We’re trying to come up with a system where, when it gets cold, people can wait in line in their cars.
“Honestly, we’re still just trying to figure out how we are going to do this. But this is still our passion. Archie’s is my passion, and we are going to keep it going.”
Garner does not yet have a reopening date, but it will be at least a month. Check the bakery Facebook page or call 216-481-4188 for updates.
Note: The below video is from September, 2019
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