Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites


Bakery cooking up big plans for its third year

Family-owned-and-operated Luckee Dutch has doubled its staff and greatly expanded its product line since 2011


Luckee Dutch Bakery has been owned and operated entirely by four members of the Van Grunsven family (husband and wife Dave and Marilynn, and grown children Casey and Angela) since its inception in August 2011. However, it has recently doubled its staff with the addition of four new employees and is looking to expand in its third full year in business.by: FILE PHOTO - Cooking up big plans - Marilynn Van Grunsven,     co-owner and operator of the Luckee Dutch Bakery, shows off some of  the shop's           signature treats back in 2011, when the store first opened.

“It’s obviously growing,” said patriarch Dave Van Grunsven. “We’ve almost outgrown this place.”

“This place” is a kitchen and dining area inside the Shell gas station on Highway 99W just outside Newberg. The area wasn’t originally designed as a bakery, and has required a bit of jury-rigging to serve the small company’s needs.

However, Casey Van Grunsven said the location — which the family leases — was also far more affordable than constructing a new building or any of the other options they had available to them when they first started the bakery. That has allowed them to invest more of their original seed money (about $35,000) in equipment, product development and all the other little things a new small business requires.

“Really, we feel like we’ve been extremely lucky,” Casey Van Grunsven said. “There have been a few challenges, but everything else has been a blessing for us.”

The small bakery has relied largely on word-of-mouth the past couple years, having been unable to devote much of its budget to more traditional forms of advertising. Casey Van Grunsven said it’s been a bit of a mixed blessing: Their customer base is probably smaller than it might be otherwise, but those who do patronize the shop tend to be very devoted.

“The people who have been coming out here, looking for us and finding us, that’s been our marketing,” he said. “That’s what’s been keeping us around.”

With a name and logo that’s inspired by the family’s combined Dutch and Irish heritage, the bakery was originally conceived as a boutique operation that would focus on gourmet cookies — a sort of answer to the growing trend in other bakeries focusing on cupcakes, Casey Van Grunsven said.

But it wasn’t long before the family branched out. They now consider Luckee Dutch more of an all-purpose bakery, offering a wide variety of breads, cakes, pastries and other baked goods. And though the family’s bakery has not yet been certified “gluten-free,” they’re very proud of their line of “wheat-free” products, which was developed for those who have celiac disease or food allergies.

Marilynn Van Grunsven said one of the keys to their success is the support they’ve received from other businesses in the community, including restaurants and cafes they now regularly bake pastries for like Jac’s Deli, Chapters Books and Coffee and Coffee Cat.

Casey Van Grunsven added that their responsiveness to customer requests has also been a big factor, remembering a prospective groom that was expecting to be unable to eat cake at his own wedding because of his severe allergies to not just wheat, but all of the most common wheat substitutes. Luckee Dutch developed a total of four alternatives that could fit within his diet, and let the groom pick his favorite.

“We just thought that was an important moment for him to be able to celebrate in that way,” Casey Van Grunsven said. “That’s what we do. We’ll work with people to find something that works for them, even if we’re doing it just the one time.”

He said Luckee Dutch does plan to focus more on marketing this year, overhauling its website and working to expand its profile on social media like Facebook and Twitter. For more information, visit luckeedutch.com or call 503-419-7872.



Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy

72°F

Newberg

Mostly Cloudy

Humidity: 59%

Wind: 3 mph

  • 18 Sep 2014

    Partly Cloudy 74°F 57°F

  • 19 Sep 2014

    Partly Cloudy 80°F 58°F