Sarkozy’s Bakery has been providing fresh baked goods to the Kalamazoo community since 1978. As Judy Sarkozy nears her 81st birthday, she began to wonder what the future of her beloved business would become. Many people may not remember, but Sarkozy and her bakery overcame a devastating fire in 2012, though she was near the age of retirement, with the help and love of the Kalamazoo community Sarkozy was able to rebuild. In hopes of preserving the strong business she made, a succession plan was set in place for the first time in 44 years.  

Alec Wells, a 32-year-old Kalamazoo local, bought half of Sarkozy’s Bakery in early May of 2022. Having worked with Judy and the business since 2019, he jumped head first into the heat of the bakery’s kitchen to fulfill the needs of this local shop. Wells had applied to join the bakery while still in high school, but was told to reapply when he was a little older; which he happily did. 

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Wells appreciated and enjoyed the work environment Sarkozy worked hard to build. Sarkozy has made it a requirement to hire full-time only employees. The reason for this rule was Sarkozy’s way of ensuring the jobs she creates would give each staff member the ability to support themselves. Not only does she want her business to succeed, but her employees as well. Making a career out of working at Sarkozy’s wasn’t Wells’ end goal, but the friendship between himself and Sarkozy has allowed him to get more immersed with the community and people in it.  

With Wells on board, Sarkozy is able to take a small step back and enjoy her version of retirement: a 45-hour work week. Their partnership and friendship can be seen in store or out interacting with the local community at the Saturday morning Kalamazoo Farmers Market, which is now back on Bank Street. 

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