WBKO December 22, 2015


Riley's Bakery buzzing with business this Christmas


By Gene Birk | 

Posted: Tue 6:41 PM, Dec 22, 2015  | 

Updated: Wed 4:01 PM, Dec 23, 2015

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- One busy business this time of year is enjoying the sweet smell of success, literally.

Folks from miles around come to Riley's Bakery to enjoy the aroma of fresh baked goods before they buy them up and head for home. In fact, they're known nationwide!

"Just bought a coffee cake to take to my sister's in North Carolina," said lifetime customer Lee Huddleston. "That's the kind of thing, you know, you gotta call across the country to say, 'Please get a coffee cake and bring it with you.'"


Huddleston says his family has been coming to Riley's Bakery since 1949. And manager Kristy Calhoun says they have customers who used to come to Riley's with their grandparents, and now those customers are bringing their grandchildren to the bakery.

Car plows into Riley’s Bakery


Dan Riley was bantering with customers this morning at Riley’s Bakery - a normal Friday morning happening, except for the fact that part of the business had been pushed in hours earlier by an out-of-control car.


“The police called me at about 11 last night and told me somebody drove through the front of Riley’s,” he said. “I said, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’ ”  Fifteen minutes after getting the call, he saw what the Bowling Green Police Department encountered - a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro partially inside his business on U.S. 31-W By-Pass.


Riley said chunks of brick, glass and mortar were strewn about the inside of the store near where the car came to a stop, and a display case containing models of wedding cakes was damaged. He estimated the damage at about $50,000, according to a city police report.


Riley wasn’t sure initially whether the damage would have kept the bakery from opening today, but Riley’s was doing robust business this morning, and Riley credited the police and the Bowling Green Fire Department for helping clear the mess.


As trays of fresh pastries were being laid out behind the counter this morning, Riley reflected on the crash.

“I guess (the driver) felt like I needed a drive-through window and I didn’t have one … I’m thankful that the driver wasn’t hurt, though, that’s the important thing,” Riley said. “Heck, I’m 72, I’ve been through it all … we’ll get it repaired.”

The smashed window was boarded up this morning, and a sizable chunk of brick wall near the front entrance was broken from the building in the crash.

Bowling Green Daily News Article

April 13, 2010

Name of business: Riley’s Bakery


Location: 819 U.S. 31-W By-Pass


Type of business: Retail bakery


When did it open? 1943


Owners: Dan and Sandy Riley, Shaun Riley and Imogene Bryant


Number of employees: 16


Specialties: Brownies, cream horns, Hungarian coffee cakes, pies, decorated cakes and every child’s favorite, tea cookies. Also, sandwiches, such as chicken, tuna, egg and ham salad, olive nut cream and pimento cheese. Assorted breads and breakfast foods.


How did the business get started? My father, William Riley, got his baking degree at Berea College in 1922. In 1943, during the height of the sugar rationing in World War II, he and my mother, Katherine, were operating a bakery in Corbin. They could not purchase enough sugar to meet the demands of his customers, and he heard of a bakery, which had a larger ration of sugar, for sale in Bowling Green. He came to Bowling Green, purchased the bakery and ran both stores until 1945.


At that time, our entire family moved to Bowling Green and the bakery was located on Main Street below Spot Cash Store. In 1949, it was moved to the square on State Street. I moved back to Bowling Green with my family in 1968, at which time we built and moved to the current location on the bypass.

What is your background? I started working in the bakery business when I was 14 years old and got my business degree from the former Bowling Green Business University, now part of Western Kentucky University. My son, Shaun, who is now managing the bakery, also grew up working in the production-end of the business.


What are your biggest challenges as a business? Finding good people to replace good employees who have retired and competing against large in-store bakeries.


What’s your business philosophy? Being sure every employee understands how important they are to the success of the business, and realizing how important the customers also are to the business.


What issues are affecting your industry? More government regulations being put on small businesses.


What are the factors that make your business successful? Having good employees who take pride in their work and making quality products and good customer service. Also, using quality ingredients that make our product special.


How do you handle competition? I don’t worry about competition. I spend my time trying to improve on my business.


What is your advice to someone thinking about opening a business? Get as much background education and experience as you can. And don’t overextend yourself to finance it. Start out small and gradually grow.