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Got cookies? Burgess has baked millions of cookies

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Got cookies? Burgess has baked millions of cookies

Jimmie Burgess samples one of her own cookies – fresh out of the oven – at her downtown Ripon bakery on Ripon’s Main Street.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED February 4, 2012 12:21 a.m.

RIPON — The tiny Burgess Bakery is nestled in the heart of the old Ripon business district that has often been referred to as a page out of Mayberry RFD.

Jimmie Burgess claims to have baked millions of cookies in the 32 years of her career that got its start in Modesto and made its way to Colorado and on to Manteca before finally locating in Ripon.

The bakery occupies two adjacent 12-by-50-foot store fronts – one side for pastries and the other for specialized cookies and cakes.

In moving from her shop in Manteca in 2001 to Ripon she found herself quickly becoming part of a family of downtown merchants as well as getting to know the warm-hearted folks in the community. 

“We know them by name – they know us by name as well as the past customers from Manteca,” she quipped.

 She says “George the Barber” just across the street often sends his customers over to see her for a cup of coffee and a choice pastry after they have been clipped.

The Barnwood Arms Gun Shop is also within a stone’s throw across the street.  Wives who have left their husbands at the firing range for half an hour often make a visit to the bakery and enjoy a short chat with its charming owner and her staff members Deborah and Amy.

Owners of the Ripon Road House – Marcus and Shelly – send their party reservations’ customers to Jimmie for the cake she thinks best for their special occasion.  After all,  the Road House is just three doors away. 

Alex from Las Casuelas Mexican Restaurant and his staff members and others from the Taqueira restaurant across the street make their way to the bakery on their block on a regular basis as do the owners of “The Girls” foundation garments located on the other side of the bake shop.

John Mangelos of the Barnwood Restaurant “a hop, a skip and a jump” across the freeway often sends a bride to her for a wedding cake for a reception he is catering.

High school kids are regulars at their hometown “sweet shop” before school, at lunchtime and after school, Burgess said. 

“We sell a lot of cookies that way – chocolate chip and cupcakes are their favorites,” she noted.

She added that she has gotten a lot of business from residents of nearby Salida especially in the schools where she has offered homemade pie fundraisers. Many of her former Manteca customers have followed her to Ripon after she moved.

 Not only did she formerly operate her bakery that was located in the Orchard Supply Shopping Center in Manteca, but she previously managed the bakery at the Raley’s Market.

In fact, her right-hand baker and sales clerk Deborah Garcia was the assistant manager of the Raley’s Delicatessen at the same time before going to work for Jimmie.

Burgess said she uses about 200 pounds of cake mix a week which adds up to 10,400 pounds of cake in a year’s time – putting in about 75 hours a week working in her bakery.

She and her husband Bill have two sons and one daughter.  Joseph, 30, is working on finishing his bachelor’s degree at college.  Patricia, 31, is working toward obtaining her culinary degree in Sacramento, and James, 23, works with her husband Bill on their ranch.

The bakery has offered its services every year for the Sober Grad parties and for the high school fashion shows.   A former member of the Manteca Soroptimist Club, she now claims to be a “member at large” due to the lack of free time she has to attend meetings.

For those who cannot have sugar in their pies, cakes and cookies Jimmie offers sugar-free baking on special orders.  She said she is now looking forward to making taste-tempting treats for the upcoming Valentine’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Her red velvet cake for Valentine’s Day is a favorite.

— Glenn Kahl
staff reporter

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