Family bakery marks half-century birthday

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Sara Van Cleve
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Rheinlander Bakery, 5721 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., is celebrating its 50th anniversary in June and anyone who has walked along Olde Wadsworth Boulevard near the building has been drawn by the sweet aroma of fresh baked goods.

The bakery was founded by Jakob and Katharina Dimmer in June of 1963 and it has been serving traditional German strudels, European cakes and pastries and more ever since.

“My parents left Chicago to come to Boulder to look at a bakery for sale in 1963,” said current owner Ed Dimmer.

“He didn’t like it, but found one for sale in Arvada that had two stories so we could live upstairs above the bakery like they do in Europe. My twin brother and I were 4 at the time.”

Jakob and Katharina emigrated from Germany to Chicago in 1956; they moved to Arvada on Jakob’s birthday, June 1, 1963 and opened Arvada Bakery on Katharina’s birthday, June 6, 1963.

In 1981, the elder Dimmers retired and sold the bakery to their business partners, but it wouldn’t remain out of the family for long.

Ed Dimmer and his wife, Maro, decided they would re-open the family bakery in 1986.

“When we re-opened, my parents helped us and let me borrow a lot of money as kids always do with their parents,” Ed said with a laugh.

“My mom went back into retirement after six months and my dad stayed and helped for another six months.”

The name may have changed, but Rheinlander continues to provide its customers with the same traditional European pastries and treats — from cupcakes and cakes to German strudels and European-style pastries and tortes.

“Some customers are still bringing their kids in after they came here as kids with their parents,” Ed said.

Rheinlander did update and expand the menu after the Dimmer’s experienced a very personal battle and change.

“About 11 years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer and after my treatment I was diagnosed with celiac disease,” Maro said. “So we introduced gluten-free and sugar-free products.”

The treats that are gluten-free and sugar-free, and a combination of the two, have all the same flavor of traditional products, Maro said, and Rheinlander is one of the few bakeries in the country that offers a combination of both gluten-free and sugar-free in their products.

As Rheinlander and the Dimmers celebrate 50 years of tradition and change, they’ll be hosting a four-day 50th anniversary celebration to benefit the Arvada Community Food Bank — Bake Out Hunger, an event they hope becomes an annual tradition.

In addition to special events, 50 percent of all sales from Thursday, June 6 through Sunday, June 9, is being donated to the Arvada Community Food Bank.

From 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 6, Rheinlander is hosting a Cake and Ice Cream FUNdraiser Social with $5 cakes to benefit the food bank and homemade ice cream from Scrumptious, 7523 Grandview Ave.

From 5-7:30 p.m. Friday, June 7, Rheinlander is hosting a German KaffeeKlatsch Social.

During the event, customers can enjoy traditional German baked goods — like strudel and bienenstich — and German coffee for $5 to the food bank and have the chance to bid on employees’ favorite creations.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, June 8, Mayor Marc Williams will be at the bakery to cut the first piece of Rheinlander’s 50th anniversary cake and customers can enjoy live German music while sampling cakes.

From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, June 9, children have the chance to decorate their own cookies under the guidance of Rheinlander decorators to be donated to the food bank during the Kid Cookie Decorating and Face Painting FUNdraiser.

Registration is $5; parents can sign their children up by calling 303-467-1810.

“I’d like to change President John F. Kennedy’s quote to say ‘Ask not what your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community,’” Ed said.

“That’s what it comes down to at this point. We’re blessed to have seen success. When the community benefits, we benefit not matter what.”