the bakery painting

In the wake of an early morning fire which destroyed The Bakery and damaged neighboring Sportstitch, Inc. on Jan. 28, Blooming Prairie residents have come together to organize a number of fundraisers for the business owners as well as the two tenants who lived about the cafe. Earlier this week, a family member launched an online fundraiser for bakery owner Gregg Fristedt, and a silent auction — which includes the painting by Patricia O’Neil seen here — and soup supper slated are slated to take place Feb. 15 at both the Pizza Cellar and J & H Liquors. (Photo courtesy of the artist)

BLOOMING PRAIRIE — Another fundraiser has been set up for Gregg Fristedt, owner of The Bakery in Blooming Prairie. The business was destroyed in a Jan. 28 electrical fire, which also caused significant damage to neighboring Sportstitch, Inc.

Earlier this week, a GoFundMe was launched by Kristen Ehmke to help offset some of the costs of recovering from the fire.

“The Bakery was not just a place of work for our dad. It was his dream come true. Over the past 24 years, he established a business that played a role in numerous lives,” she wrote on the webpage.

She added that the future of the business is still unclear, but noted that demolition of the building could amount to over $100,000. City Administrator Andrew Langholz seconded this figure, saying he estimated razing The Bakery and adjacent structures would likely run between $100,000 and $200,000. He added that, with special precautions due to the age of the structure, insurance likely wouldn’t cover the full cost.

In a discussion at Monday night’s city council meeting, Langholz told officials that Fristedt and the owner of the neighboring building — where Sportstitch rents space — have both made the decision to tear down the existing structures.

“The exterior walls are still good, and we’re not afraid of it falling down. Technically, it could be rebuilt but it would cost significantly more,” he added, of The Bakery building. “We’re talking about well over $1 million to save it.”

The city is now in the process of helping get quotes for demolition.

“Technically, it’s not our issue for demolition or anything like that, but the buildings and businesses were important to the community,” said Langholz. “We’re basically trying to help anyway we can.”

As of Friday afternoon, Ehmke’s fundraiser had reached nearly $300 of its $1,000 goal. Another benefit is also scheduled for this Saturday evening at both the Pizza Cellar and J & H Liquors in Blooming Prairie. The event will run from 4 to 8 p.m., and include a soup supper and silent auction.

The organizers of Saturday’s fundraiser have also set up an account at Farmers and Merchants State Bank in Blooming Prairie to benefit Fristedt and Linda Klemmensen, owner of Sportstitch. Ehmke’s fundraiser is located online at

Reporter Bridget Kranz can be reached at 507-444-2376. Follow her on Twitter @OPPBridget. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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