Coronavirus: Beloved Oakwood bakery persevering with creativity

A basket arranged by Ashley’s Pastry Shop in Oakwood for National Donut Day on June 5. CONTRIBUTED

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A basket arranged by Ashley’s Pastry Shop in Oakwood for National Donut Day on June 5. CONTRIBUTED

As the saying goes, the show must go on and as far as Theresa Hammons is concerned, so must National Doughnut Day.

Ashley’s Pastry Shop in Oakwood closed for the first two weeks of Ohio’s stay-at-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since reopening, Hammons, the bakery’s owner, said she has felt more creative than ever while keeping her business afloat during the crisis.

Today, National Doughnut Day, the bakery is offering a box of six assorted donuts for $6 in a clever nod to the six-feet social distancing rule.

“We chose six as opposed to a dozen because first of all, the social distancing aspect and just a play on that, but also because a lot of businesses, people aren’t fully in the office now,” Hammons said. “So you’re not necessarily bringing in a dozen donuts like you typically would.”

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If the treats inside the box weren’t sweet enough, Hammons sweetened the deal, as she is known to do, with some of the boxes containing a gift certificate to a Miami Valley business or restaurant.

“My focus was, we are in this together,” Hammons said. “I’ve thought about businesses that have just begun to reopen and people need that little reminder of, ‘Oh you know what, they’re open now let me go support them.’”

Throughout the pandemic, Hammons said orders to get pastries shipped came from former Daytonians as far away as Chicago. They’ve told her the pastries return them, if just for a moment, to a sense of normalcy and better times.

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“They just wanted a little taste of home,” Hammons said. “They wanted to remember when they were 11 years old and they got a cookie at the bakery. That’s what made their day then and that’s kind of what can make their day through all of this.”

Nestled in a building that has housed one bakery or another for more than 90 years, Ashley’s has been a household name in the Dayton area for generations when it comes to doughnuts, cakes, cookies and other fresh pastries.

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“We’re in the business of making sweet treats and making people’s day seem brighter,” Hammons said. “Throughout all of this pandemic situation, that’s kind of what our focus all was— how can we continue to make people happy through deliciousness?”

Just like the stick of an Ashley’s Pastry glazed doughnut, Hammons’ positivity often sticks with customers long after they’ve finished their treat.

“I always say, we don’t need to think necessarily about totally knocking it out of the ball park on every single thing we do,” Hammons said. “It’s just doing little things that can make a difference. And if you string enough of those little things together … you’re going to have a great impact.”

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