Reimagined Mackenzies Bakery opens in Vicksburg

The wait is over for baked-good lovers across Southwest Michigan who, for a year, have gone without their favorite artisanal products from the former MacKenzie’s Bakery in Kalamazoo.

While the recipes, smells and even some staff will be the same, patrons will now find a reimagined Mackenzies in historic downtown Vicksburg. Vicksburg native Chris Moore purchased the former Kalamazoo bakery almost one year ago to the date of the April 14 grand opening.

In addition to the multi-year renovation of the former paper mill on the village’s west end, Moore is pursuing some smaller projects in Vicksburg that pair well with the Mill’s destination goals.

Moore transformed the 1,700-square-foot space at 103 E. Prairie Street into a charming bakery storefront. The intent is to attract more people to the historic downtown area with desirable products while showing visitors the vision to revitalize shuttered spaces into aesthetically pleasing business opportunities that will benefit the village for years to come.

Mackenzies Bakery offers a walk-in storefront where patrons can grab scratch-baked breads, including the popular Pretzel, Struan, Crispy Italian, and Paesano, as well as a selection of cookies, muffins, and beverages. Plans are included for a wholesale operation.

The bakery is personal to Moore, who like many area residents in the 1960s remember Otto and Anna Kaak’s Country Maid Bakery on South Main Street. Moore recalls the sweet smells of the bakery and the many treats waiting for purchase behind the glass: cookies, sweet rolls, turnovers and “wedgies” were area favorites. Otto or Anna often placed a sample tea cookie in a young patron’s hand.

Moore’s wish is for future generations of children to enjoy bakery treats in a thriving downtown village. “I fondly remember walking to the bakery with Mike Oswalt when our moms were working on Water Over the Dam. We each had a quarter in hand and were excited to buy a turnover at the bakery,” said Moore. “My hope is that a visit to Mackenzies Bakery will create a new generation’s worth of memories for residents and visitors in our hometown.”

To ensure continuity through the transition, Moore engaged former owner John MacKenzie for consultation. “Chris Moore and his team have really captured the essence of a small-town bakery while incorporating modern functionality,” MacKenzie said after touring the nearly completed site in March. “The space has so much natural light and charm, along with the best baking oven in the industry. It just brings a smile to my face knowing the legacy continues with this Vicksburg location.”

In addition to engaging the former owner, Moore also hired two long-time MacKenzie’s employees to manage daily operations—General Manager Jill Younger and Head Baker Cris Najar.

The grand opening is a point of pride for Moore and his Vicksburg-based project teams, as the space was painstakingly renovated and, where possible, restored to its original and historic charm. The effort to restore the 103 building is part of a larger community-based endeavor to have the downtown area authorized on the National Register of Historic Places list.

“We’re very excited to open the doors to Mackenzies and show the community our commitment to restoring these wonderful downtown buildings while contributing to its vibrancy,” said Jackie Koney, chief operating officer of Paper City Development, Moore’s Vicksburg-based company. “Frederick Construction, our team, and so many other partners invested so much time to carefully design and build a space that will stand the test of time. We’re eager to get baking and bring smiles to the faces of everyone who walks through the doors!”

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