Construction diverts customers from century-old Clarksville bakery

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – For 100 years, a Clarksville bakery has brought generations and families together.

William’s Bakery has been churning hearts and stomachs in Clarksville for nearly 120 years.

Now, construction is diverting customers from the Indiana bakery. WAVE News spoke with the owner about trying to survive.

Small businesses are looking forward to the holidays. Increased buyers mean more business. For a small Indiana business, the hardest part is getting people to ring the doorbell.

For over a century, William’s Bakery has served generation after generation, building a sweet reputation in the Indiana community.

“Sometimes it suffocates me,” said Earnest Polston, owner of William’s bakery. “Because they are very good customers who care about the bakery. Because we’ve been here so long, I have some clients who are in their 90s. Sometimes I get wedding cakes from four generations.”

But for what seems like forever, this store, built with hard work and a sweet tooth, has been down its luck.

“During three months, [customers] They were in front of my drive-thru and I couldn’t use my drive-thru,” Polston said.

He’s talking about the construction on North Clarksville Road right outside the store. Polston said it started in March and was supposed to end in September.

Instead, it’s still here, still diverting traffic and diverting customers, which is hurting most of your business.

“They come here and they have to drive a washboard to get to my bakery because the road is so bad,” Polston said. “And they will keep coming.”

Construction is seeping in at the busiest time of year. The holiday season usually brings a spike in business with muffins, cookies and fruitcakes flying off the shelves.

But combine that monstrosity with record inflation and it’s been hard to stay afloat.

“I’m just praying that I survive until the prices come down because I can’t raise the prices,” Polston said. “Customers just can’t afford it.”

But Polston hopes to be back in the right direction soon. So that his little shop in Clarksville can keep its doors open for another century, carrying the same recipe for success for years to come.

“I’m proud of the business because I’ve worked hard to keep it going,” Polston said. “I’m still working hard to keep it going. I hope I can.”

Polston said his loyal customers keep his business alive.

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