With rumors circulating of one of Sumter’s oldest bakeries possibly closing, Liberty Street’s Perfection Bakery put those rumors to rest as it did close at the end of February.
Since the Great Depression era, Perfection Bakery has been known as a Sumter classic, keeping everything, including its recipes, as unchanged as possible.
“It’s just recipes that have been in the bakery forever,” owner Shirley Davis said.
Davis’ step-father-in-law sold the bakery to her and her husband, John Davis, after they moved to Sumter from Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1967.
Since then, Shirley Davis has been running the bakery and icing its goodies for 52 years now, while her baker, Bobby Robinson, has been working the ovens for almost 50 years.
After more than 50 years of work, Shirley Davis decided it’s time to retire her oven mitts.
“It’s good, and it’s been good,” Shirley Davis said, “but … I just don’t know how to say it. I’m 84, and it’s time to let some of it down.”
From her unique birthday cakes to the popular flying saucer pastries, a lot of Sumterites went to the bakery toward the end of the month to get what they could after hearing rumors of it closing.
However, there may be hope for a grand reopening in the future. With thoughts of hiring new management and renovating the bakery, the long-lived bakery business may stay in the family.
“Everyone keeps saying if we go out, we got to put some of them (birthday cakes) and the confections in the freezer,” Davis said, “and we might not close. We’re kind of in limbo with it. We might just get a new manager.”
Davis said a family member who does not wish to be named yet has thought about managing the store after she retires, but it’s not certain yet.
The family member worked in the bakery at just 12 years old and didn’t want to see it close. Shirley Davis’ son, Warren Davis, a senior corporal with the Sumter Police Department who runs its Project Checkmate program, is not planning to run the bakery but feels the same way.
“It’s kind of hard,” he said. “When I was a teenager, we got that bakery from my grandparents.”
He also said that keeping Perfection Bakery in the family is the idea and hopes to see it reopen with new renovations.
Shirley Davis said after retiring she’d even come back to the bakery every now and then if it reopened. She’s loyal to her customers, just as they have been loyal to Perfection Bakery for the past 52 years.
“I’ll miss it all,” she said. “I was in it for so long.”
Source: Thanks https://theitem.com/stories/family-owned-sumter-bakery-closes-after-more-than-50-years,342066