The shop window is littered with cookie jars collected over 25 years of business. A rooster painted on the window is fading, but the lettering still stands out at Jim and Connie’s Bakery in Blair, Nebraska. As soon as you enter, you are wrapped up in something akin to the warmth of Grandma’s kitchen. The cookie jar collection that can be seen from the outside is just the beginning of a collection of ceramic pie plates, chickens, old tins and fresh baked goodies.
The place has little seating room to offer, but has become a destination for me nonetheless. With a drive to the bakery, the game of pointing through the glass display case to lead Jim’s hand toward the perfect donut, and the sticky, glazed bills I receive back in change, I can’t wait to get to my destination to enjoy it. The donut is always gone before I get back on the highway to Omaha.
A few weeks ago, the store closed, however, leaving the town of Blair and those out-of-towners who make the drive (myself included) concerned. It was time for them to take a vacation, Jim explained to me this morning as his glazed-coated fingers handed out my change when I stopped. He chuckled. It was their first vacation in 15 years, but it really made the residents of Blair realize what a treasure they have in this cozy nook of a bakery.
Did I mention that they have the best glazed donuts in the state of Nebraska? If anyone would like to refute that, make sure you make your way down 17th street off of Blair’s main drag and try one.
Tell Jim hello for me.