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Sweet things keep happening at Burgess Bakery
Jimmy Burgess and her right hand Amy Regevig prepare a strawberry cheese cake in their new cake shop at the Burgess Bakery’s downtown Ripon location on Main Street. - photo by GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin
RIPON  - Jimmy Burgess continues to draw customers new and old into her Ripon bakery location with her pastry creations and her infectious smile.  It’s all about doing what’s right for her customers, she said, as she added an adjoining store front for a cake shop.

Burgess Bakery was located for some seven years in the Cardoza Shopping Center at Louise and Main streets in Manteca – in Ripon now for nearly three years.

“It’s a power house,” she said of her small bakery.  “There’s not very much room, but there’s a lot going on here.”

Burgess has been making wedding cakes for 20 plus years and continues to turn out between two and four every weekend.  There was a past wedding season where she remembers maxing out with a total of eight cakes going to receptions in the area.

Today, and for the last four years, Jimmy has mentored a “right arm” in Amy Regevig who she credits as being a very valuable employee.  

“Amy is a very important person to me.  She can open and close.  She knows a lot about everything.  Amy can tell you how long it takes to make a pie.  She makes cookies, bread and fancy fruit torts,” Burgess said.

Asked if her Manteca clientele followed when she moved her bakery to Ripon, she replied with a simple “Absolutely!”

She told of Dorothy and Dave Fells who have been outstanding repeat customers and friends since she first worked to open the Manteca bakery location.  In fact, they just got a cake for their grandson’s engagement, she noted.

Fells is known as “Mr. Tradeway” she said for his ability to make a hot rod out of any derelict vehicle.  And Dorothy, when Burgess was doing the layout and installation work in the Manteca location, she was there every day to check on Burgess.

“She would stop by every day on her walk to see how I was doing.  She’s still with me today,” Burgess said smiling.

Jimmy got her start in cooking as a 10-year-old girl – a middle child in a family of five – two girls and two boys.Her mom was often away at work as a nurse, adding that her older sister took on the house cleaning chores.  “I cooked!” she said.  

“No matter what I made my brothers would eat it all; they would even eat cereal out of mixing bowls.  One of them grew to 6-foot-8,” she said.

The Ripon bakery owner said her dad’s favorites were chocolate chip cookies and apricot pie.  Even during his retirement years he drove up from the Fresno area to run errands for the shop and also involved himself in her husband’s farming operation.  He passed away recently at 91 with his daughter saying his longevity was probably due to his drive to keep busy – to stay involved where he was needed.

“I like to make people happy, because being a middle child that’s what you do,” she added.

And her second love is to develop talent in others and watch them respond and grow from the mentoring.

As for the Manteca location, she would have stayed there but for the downturn in the economy she saw on the horizon three years ago.  Ripon customers have welcomed her with open arms with many coming through her door every morning for her coffee and pastry treats she turns out daily.