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Olsen had done some soul-searching after the loss of her first husband in a car accident in 2008. At the time, work was also discouraging, amid the economic downturn. “I said, ‘I want to look for opportunities that feel more uplifting,’ ” she said.
This project could “not fall more perfectly into that category. Nothing but positive vibes are coming off of this bakery,” she said.
Tabs on its progress
Olsen wants to preserve the community feel of the bakery, where people can hang out and not feel rushed, she said.
Although the interior will get a new look, it’ll have “a retro vibe,” while the Hans’ sign will be refurbished.
Champlin resident Teresa Dahl-Dehrer worked behind the counter when she was in high school in the mid-1980s. “I remember practicing and practicing until I got the OK to be able to write on cakes,” she said.
Now she’s looking forward to introducing her daughter to the place, to “try their goodies and see if they are just as good as I remember,” she said.
Pete Turok, who leads the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce, said he’s been fielding lots of phone calls from people wanting to know if the rumors about Hans’ reopening are true. It shows that “it’s a regional pull, not just local. It’s kind of a landmark,” said Turok, who acknowledged a hankering for a beehive.
Anoka City Council Member Jeff Weaver has a soft spot for the bakery. “You would stand in line with these wonderful smells, the cases with all of the doughnuts and turnovers and other delicious items. You could never leave with just what you came for. You would always leave with something extra,” he said.
He said the bakery’s comeback is good for the area, too. “A challenged property will come back to life, and hopefully it’ll have that grand allure of what was once a very thriving business,” he said.
Blaine resident Lisa Kauppi, a baker at Hans’ for over 20 years starting in 1984, is hopeful that can happen. Kauppi, who’s been rehired by Olsen, is looking forward to returning.
When she first clicked on the bakery’s Facebook page, she recognized the names of countless customers from the past. “It was a flood of emotion,” she said. “It’s exciting to think it’ll be brand new, starting over fresh.”
Anna Pratt is a Minneapolis freelance writer.