"The bakery has welded us together," says Regina Dimitrijevic (right), who stands with her sister Elisabeth Mayr in the bakery of the Aßlingen family bakery, which the two have now taken over. © Stefan Roßmann
The love of craftsmanship has welded two sisters together and ensured the continued existence of a 125-year-old family business. The Mayr bakery in Aßling is now in its fifth generation and is reinventing itself without forgetting its roots.
Aßling – The Mayr bakery in Aßling is closing. Faster than the smell from the bread oven wafts across the street to the town hall, the news has spread throughout the village and beyond. For every pretzel, for every grain bread, for every Prinzregenten slice, the saleswomen have to provide a rich portion of explanation. Yes, the Mayr bakery is closing. But it also opens up again.
Mayr bakery in Aßling, the 5th generation in family hands: Now the daughters are taking over
In the kitchen behind the sales room, it's like a flour-dusty pigeon barn. "I'm the annoying whimper," a saleswoman warbles before she picks up the door with a craftsman, followed by a baker who grabs a sip to drink. At the table, in the eye of the hurricane, Regina Dimitrijevic (38) sits opposite her sister Elisabeth Mayr (34) and says: "The house needs a facelift." The Mayr bakery in Aßling has been around for 125 years. That's why the two sisters, the fifth generation, who are now officially in charge, have decided: After 30 years, it will be renovated again.
While the late shift sweeps up flour and dough scraps, senior master baker Gregor Mayr (64) is standing in his bakery. "They're in an excellent position," he says of his two daughters. After 50 years of night shift, he is visibly proud that things are continuing. And that both daughters are involved in the family business.
"If you take a loaf of bread out of the oven, you've done something."
The younger one, Elisabeth, whom everyone calls Lissy, was actually already gone, in Munich, with a job in a patent law firm and a course of study in mind. "We didn't know if you'd come home," the nurse says to her across the table, with a smile. Now they know. At some point, Lissy Mayr asked herself the question of meaning. She says: "In the office, I typed all day. It's different when you take a loaf of bread out of the oven. You've done something."
This was followed by an internship with his father in the bakery. The training. The master craftsman's certificate. The business economist. Mayr modestly forgets to mention the State Honor Award and the best of the year. Dad thinks of it for that.
Everyone does their own thing as a family, and the sisters run their parents' Mayr bakery in Aßling together
In the past, when pretzels were still black and white, one of the baker's daughters, Regina or Lissy, would probably have gone to a baker's fair and looked for a man with whom she could share shop and life. Instead, the two women found each other in business, as pretzel sisters, so to speak. Everyone does their own thing as a family – they manage their parents' bakery together. "We're attached to it," says Regina Dimitrijevic. It's a good thing that Lissy has learned how to bake and Regina has learned how to sell. So both have their area of expertise. "But we discuss everything with each other," says Elisabeth Mayr.
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They have talked a lot for the past two years, with their father always with them. How to make a 125-year-old company fit for the future. Without sweeping the tried and tested out of the bakery with the new broom. "The traditional remains," says master baker Mayr, referring to the tea leaves, the apricot croissants and the Mayr pretzels that customers like so much. "That's because of the secret recipe. And love," says Lissy. And the effort involved in fresh production – three times a day, a five-person team is turning, looping, letting through.
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However, demographic change is also affecting Aßling. "Cream cakes are no longer in such demand," says Mayr. The younger audience is increasingly attaching importance to options for conscious nutrition – the sisters have recognized that there is no way around avocado-cocoa-oatmeal and protein bread. "It's the opinion of the customers that counts," says Regina Dimitrijevic. She was recently happy when an elderly customer ate a cookie with the words "Is des a spelt biscuit?" "You can't let yourself be guided by prejudices."
Three months of renovation - three months of sales vans
But from a concept. The future of the Mayr bakery looks like this: A sales van will open in front of the shop until the Corpus Christi weekend, which will then stand in front of the Aßlingen bookshop for three months – the local Rewe has signaled to them that the bakery customers are allowed to park with it during this time, the sisters say gratefully. If the planned reopening date of 7 September works out (Regina: "It has to work!"), customers will find a completely redesigned sales room with a small café area. To do this, the baker's family tears out the old kitchen and expands the shop around the corner. Lots of wood, a few tables, a customer toilet and the Italian portafilter espresso machine that Elisabeth Mayr has been dreaming of for a long time. People should be able to sit down for breakfast and coffee.
The building is completely renovated, only the bakery, which the family has constantly modernized over the years, remains untouched. "What's going to happen there," says Regina Dimitrijević when she thinks about clearing out the storage facility. But maybe that's where you'll find the wrought-iron boom with the gold-plated pretzel that countless truck drivers have pulled off the corner of the house at some point. It would look good on the new façade, the sisters think. Old and new – somehow symbolic.
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