Home News Historic kosher bakery in Oakland to be sold for one dollar

Historic kosher bakery in Oakland to be sold for one dollar

by Celia

An Oakland man has assumed ownership of what is believed to be the Bay Area’s oldest and potentially final kosher bakery, acquiring the business for a nominal fee of $1.

Bear Silber finalized the acquisition of the historic Grand Bakery last month, taking over the reins of the wholesale establishment from previous owner Sam Tobis.

Tobis, who purchased Grand Bakery from Bob Jaffe in 2017, opted to sell the business due to time constraints stemming from his involvement as a partner at Saul’s Restaurant and Deli in Berkeley. Eager to pass on the legacy of the bakery, Tobis offered it for sale at a symbolic $1, prioritizing the selection of the right successor.

Prospective buyers were required to submit essays detailing their backgrounds, qualifications, and motivations for owning a bakery.

Silber, upon learning of the opportunity, swiftly contacted Tobis, with whom he had prior business interactions. Ultimately, Silber was chosen to continue Grand Bakery’s tradition of offering Jewish baked goods.

The $1 transaction encompassed customer accounts and recipes, with Silber subsequently making additional investments in equipment and inventory. He has retained much of the existing staff and customer routes.

With a history of owning various Bay Area businesses, including Powell’s Sweet Shoppe, Silber hails from a family with a rich heritage in operating a prosperous kosher bakery. His great-grandparents established the renowned Silber’s Jewish bakery chain in Baltimore in the early 1900s, which flourished with numerous retail outlets until its closure in 1979.

Silber aspires to revive his family’s business legacy through Grand Bakery, expressing his desire to restore Silber’s name and imbue the new venture with enduring significance.

Beyond maintaining the bakery’s traditional offerings, Silber aims to expand its reach and diversify its clientele, including collaborating with more grocers. He also plans to introduce kosher dairy products like babka and rugelach and envisions establishing a retail shop in the future, integrating wholesale operations with direct consumer engagement.

Describing himself more as a purveyor of joy than merely an entrepreneur, Silber emphasizes his commitment to community engagement and customer satisfaction in shaping the bakery’s future direction.

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