Cookies of all varieties are big business for Bethel Bakery, Bethel Park, Pa. Cookies (chocolate chip, drop, cut-out, decorated, and holiday specialty) generate about 15% of bakery sales for the retail bakery. “Cookies are very important to us,” said John Walsh, owner Bethel Bakery. “Cookies are big. They’re easy to serve and eat. Anyone can enjoy a cookie or two without feeling guilty about it,” he said.
Central to Walsh’s smooth cookie production is the Rhodes Super Automatic Kook-e-King depositing machine. Even during the month of December when cookies account for nearly half of his business, Walsh counts on the Super Automatic to deposit and cut nearly all his cookie dough varieties.
“It’s easy to operate, easy to clean, and it cranks away,” Walsh said. “We have all the different shaped dies for every holiday.” Most recently, Bethel Bakery produced bunny cookies for Easter. “It’s also easy to adjust when going from one weight to another. It provides very high productivity,” Walsh said.
Walsh was introduced to the Kook-e-King brand with the hand-cranked depositor his father, Morris, had. Morris and wife Anna Walsh opened Bethel Bakery in 1955, operating production and retail space out of three garages. “When he started the bakery in Bethel Park, it was very rural. Now it’s a thriving suburb with no more new construction because we don’t have the room,” Walsh said.
John, the oldest of Morris’ seven children, took over the bakery in 1991 with his wife Chris. John’s youngest sister, Christine, runs the cake decorating department. Very much a family business, Bethel Bakery has grown with its community and today employs a team of more than 80 people.
Walsh says the key to Bethel’s long-running success has been its loyal customer base, fostered by the bakery’s commitment to quality product and its dedicated, talented staff. He says customers come to Bethel for products they can’t get anywhere else, like signature decorated cakes with scratch buttercream and its pretzel donut made with laminated dough. “Our chocolate drop cookies are extremely popular too,” he added. “We have very loyal customers who are willing to make a special stop for us.”