Brown's Bakery has been serving doughnuts, baked goods at Midtown location for 30 years

·3 min read
Brown's Bakery continues to serve the public with a variety of baked goods in Oklahoma City.
Brown's Bakery continues to serve the public with a variety of baked goods in Oklahoma City.

When the owners of Brown’s Bakery moved to their current location in Midtown Oklahoma City 30 years ago, some thought the business would not survive.

“They said ‘You’re crazy for moving down there,’” Brenda Brown Martindale said.

Martindale, the daughter of owner Bill Brown, said the family decided to buy the location at NW 10 and Walker Avenue in 1992 when there were no other businesses in sight. Their previous building, near NW 13 and Robinson, was right off the highway with tons of traffic. While they lost the original property due to bankruptcy, the new building has 10 times the space.

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“We came over here and started fresh. It’s the best thing that’s happened to us,” Brown said.

A bakery with history

Brown's bakery has been helping the community in one way or another for more than 75 years.

Bill Brown’s parents started the bakery in 1946, and he began working in the kitchen a few years later. Still reeling from the repercussions of the Great Depression, the bakery became a staple for dry goods for those in the community.

The Brown family moved Brown's Bakery to the location at NW 10 and Walker Avenue in 1992.
The Brown family moved Brown's Bakery to the location at NW 10 and Walker Avenue in 1992.

“During the Depression, the bakers could get the flour and the sugar, but the housewives couldn't because of rationing,” Martindale said. “So all the housewives would come here to buy all their bread and all their sweets.”

Decades later, after the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the bakery was commissioned to make $4,000 worth of doughnuts forthe Red Cross and The Salvation Army.

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“We got the Governor’s Award for helping with the bombing,” Brown said. “We had served that building for over 15 years.”

The bakery’s legacy continues

At Oklahoma State University's Institute of Technology, Brown developed skills in culinary arts. Later, when his parents passed down the bakery to him, Brown taught his late wife, Carolyn Brown, how to bake and decorate cakes.

“And then she taught Brenda and Sandy, our daughters, how to decorate cakes, too,” Brown said. “She was a real good artist.”

With three generations having worked at the store, the Browns established themselves as a family of bakers.

Martindale worked at a bakery in Texas, but returned home after her mother broke her hip in 2013. Now, she said she “does a little bit of everything,” from managing the store to customer service. Her brother, William Brown, is the head baker and kitchen manager.

Eric Franco takes a customer's order June 17 at Brown’s Bakery in Oklahoma City.
Eric Franco takes a customer's order June 17 at Brown’s Bakery in Oklahoma City.

The strong family ties have helped the bakery survive, Martindale said.

“There’s a lot of family working here, and the family helps through the hard times,” Martindale said. “It’s kind of a blessing.”

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During the pandemic, the Browns moved their bakery display near their glass windows and served customers outside. While business slowed dramatically during 2020, they have since recovered — baking about 300 to 500 dozen items a day.

Martindale and Brown reminisced about their humble beginnings 30 years ago.

“There was only one restaurant down (in Midtown) … and there were a lot of empty buildings,” Martindale said.

When thinking about those who thought they were crazy to move to Midtown, the Browns got the last laugh.

“Now it’s not so bad,” Brown said. “Now I think there's probably like 20 (businesses) near here.”

After 30 years, Brown’s Bakery continues to serve the public with a variety of baked goods in Midtown Oklahoma City.
After 30 years, Brown’s Bakery continues to serve the public with a variety of baked goods in Midtown Oklahoma City.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Brown's Bakery remains a Midtown OKC staple after 30 years