PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In Homewood, on North Homewood Avenue, stands a small bakery store that has been serving the community for more than 35 years.
“Dana’s Bakery is a full line retail bakery shop specializing in doughnuts to cookies, wedding cakes, sweet potato pies,” said baker Joseph Simmons.
Simmons, a self-taught baker, named the bakery after one of his daughters.
“I just couldn’t see Joe’s Bakery,” he said. “It didn’t have that ring to it.”
But the name created an interesting side effect.
“Most of the time, all my customers call me Dana anyway, so you know, I answer to it,” he said.
In his large family, it’s only Simmons and one of his sons who start at 2 a.m. to get all the assorted desserts prepared.
They make turnovers, cookies, ladylocks, cupcakes, brownies and many other treats – all made from scratch.
Simmons believes that homemade taste makes him different from bigger stores.
“I do my own thing right here,” he said. “I don’t worry about no one else. I am very passionate about what I do and the quality of my product.”
And making everything from scratch, Simmons says creates repeat customers.
“I had a customer this morning,” he said, “’I’m 41. I’ve been coming here, you know, since I was 6 years old.’”
Over the years, Simmons says he’s witnessed what has happened to the neighborhood.
“Homewood has changed a whole lot, you know,” he said, “I just hope it comes back.”
Regardless of the changes, Simmons doesn’t think about relocating his business.
“I know I probably could be anywhere else, you know,” he said, “’cause the quality of my product is good. But Homewood is where I am and Homewood is where I am going to be.”