The Student News Media Site of Oakwood High School

The Ax Media

The Student News Media Site of Oakwood High School

The Ax Media

The Student News Media Site of Oakwood High School

The Ax Media

Bakery’s backstory

A behind the scenes look at Ashley’s Pastry Shop
Ashley’s has been a successful operating business in Oakwood for over 40 years, sitting on the same corner of Park Ave. and Far Hills Ave. “There’s three parts of running a business of any type and any size. Offer quality products, exceptional service, and competitive prices,” Theresa Hammons, co-founder of Ashley’s, said.

Ashley’s Bakery has been a well-known anchor of the community since 1982, serving pastries for 41 years . It was founded by Theresa Hammons and her husband Greg Hammons. 

“My [husband’s stepfather] Stanley had bakeries out in Oklahoma City, so he started working in the bakery when he was 14 years old. He went onto college and pursued a degree in the baking industry. We had the opportunity to open up our bakery when we were 8 ½ months pregnant with our daughter Ashley, and that’s where the name comes from,” Theresa Hammons said. 

One of the most popular aspects of Ashley’s is the ability for people to create accounts, so they have money saved in the bakery for when they want a pastry and don’t have cash on them. This system started after a neighboring business closed about 25 years ago, causing them to revamp their business strategy.  

“Right next to the bakery there used to be this little meat market [Myers Meat Shop], and going back as far as 60 plus years ago, kids from the high school and Harman and Smith would come to the bakery and get a hamburger bun, and then they would go next door and get a couple slices of lunch meat and they would make a sandwich. Then there was an ice cream shop up the street, and they would go up the street and get an ice cream cone or come back to the bakery and get a pastry,” Hammons described. “Well about 25 years ago the meat shop closed, and we were trying to figure out what to do for lunch without carrying a whole meat selection or cheese selection. So, we started making pizza.” 

This system is especially popular with kids who go to the bakery during lunch. 

“Then kids would bring money, and then they would lose money, and then they would forget their money, so we started a charge account system where parents would put money in an account, and it works on a declining balance, and when funds get low parents deposit money into the account,” Hammons said. “The most important thing I like about it is it allows us to really get to know the kids. And by that, we get to know their names, and their buying habits and what they like, so we’re not referring to them as just a customer, but we’re referring to them as Bill or Sue or Emily, so we establish the next generation of our buyers by valuing what they are doing for our business during that hour lunch period.” 

Kids and adults alike are so drawn to Ashley’s because of their wide range of pastries.

“A lot of them are my husband’s family recipes that he’s had for years. A lot of them are just recipes that we developed based on different events that are happening…We are members of the Retail Bakers of America Association and a couple of different food associations, and we try to stay on top of the latest trends, dietary trends and the newest flavors that are coming out,” Hammons said. “We subscribe to a lot of food magazines and baking magazines. We want people to think of the event they are celebrating and how something that we make can tie into that event and make it that much more special.” 

Ashley’s has faced many challenges since its opening, and one of the newer ones is to hire some new bakers. 

“The bakery industry and bakers need qualified people. We’re really fortunate to have great people who’ve worked for us for many many years, and I’m talking 25, 30, 35 years. With that being said, they’re getting older, so we need to develop a younger workforce who are more skilled in that area. We have to think outside the box of what a baker means in today’s modern world.” 

Even with the hardship of finding a younger skilled group of bakers, the most special part of the business according to Hammons are the 27 staff members, especially the student staff members. 

“We really value our high school staff. I can’t think of running our operation without being blessed with great student staff. The majority of those are Oakwood High School students. What they bring to us is just wonderful. If anyone’s ever looking for a job, be sure to come and apply, we’re always hiring.” 

Other than managing staff, Hammons has a very busy day, as it takes numerous amounts of time and energy to run a business.  

“I usually get to the bakery at about 6:00 in the morning. I work about 12 hours a day, Tuesday through Saturday. We’re closed on Sunday, Monday I work about 8 hours. My day consists of taking care of the customers, handling all of the commercial business that we do, with all of the different restaurants and hotels and country clubs and coffee shops that we supply. Also coming up with new product ideas, different things we want to feature in the bakery.” 

Despite the long hours and difficulties, Hammons truly loves what she does, and is grateful to the community for giving her opportunities to connect with her customers. I remember going to Ashley’s numerous times by myself in elementary school and loving the independence it brought me. Hammons remembers me too. 

“I remember when you came in,” Hammons said.  “You said, ‘My name is Lilly Green. Green like the color.’ That’s what’s so special about what we do because small moments like that allow us to connect with people, and become a part of their lives.” 


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