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Ogden’s Topper Bakery will be back after fire, operator says

By Tim Vandenack - | Sep 1, 2021

BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner

The sun rises over Monroe Avenue and Topper Bakery on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016. The bakery has been located in the same spot since 1939 while neighboring businesses and homes have changed.

OGDEN — Following the destruction of the Topper Bakery building in a fire on Monday, the outpouring of support has been intense, said Valeen DeRyke, who owns and operates the locale with son Lance DeRyke.

“Oh my gosh — it’s so overwhelming,” she said. There have been phone calls, tons of social media posts, even fundraising efforts initiated by backers to help the DeRykes deal with the disaster.

Indeed, given the support and demand, she and her son aren’t calling it quits. They plan to keep going. Harry DeRyke, Valeen DeRyke’s father-in-law, launched the business in 1939 and it has operated at 2516 Monroe Blvd. in central Ogden since them, becoming a local institution.

“We do want to rebuild and come back. We want to keep it going, yes,” she said Wednesday. They’re mulling rebuilding at the Monroe Boulevard location.

Rebuilding will take time, though, and in the near-term, she and her son are scouting for a temporary location to keep operating. “We’re really concerned about our accounts,” she said, referring to commercial clients like the Burger Bar in Roy that rely on its baked goods.

According to the Ogden Fire Department, Monday’s fire destroyed the locale, which sits across Monroe Boulevard from James Madison Elementary. Fire department spokesman Mike Slater said Wednesday that the investigation continued and that a precise cause had not been pinpointed.

“They may never know. It’s hard to say,” DeRyke said. What does seem clear, though, is that the blaze started in the ceiling area toward the front of the building, which was empty at the time.

Topper offers donuts, hamburger and hotdog buns, wedding cakes, cookies and more, both to the general public and other commercial outlets, including a pair of Salt Lake City-area Greek eateries that get pita bread from the business. The DeRyke family’s roots are in the Netherlands and among Topper’s other specialties are speculaas cookies, a Dutch treat similar to ginger cookies, that are offered around Christmas.

“We do it all,” DeRyke said.

Tim Vandenack, Standard-Examiner Christian Babington stands outside the burned-out remnants of Topper Bakery in Ogden on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. Babington lives in the neighborhood and especially liked the chocolate donuts at the locale. Harry DeRyke first opened the bakery, an Ogden institution, in 1939.

Though the DeRykes want to keep the business going, they’re still working with their insurers to determine what sort of compensation they’ll get. They worry costs of rebuilding will exceed any insurance funding they receive and a number of fundraising initiatives have emerged. Among other initiatives, an American First Credit Union account has been opened to accept donations, according to a post on the bakery’s Facebook page.

Most immediately, the DeRykes are scouting existing locations to rent or lease where they can bake their goods. The small family business employs five or six people and, fortunately, they still have all the recipes.

“We’re just a small, little place. But boy do we put the product out,” DeRyke said.

Operators of the Great Harvest Bread Co. location in Ogden have offered help and the DeRykes are sorting the options.

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