Duchess Bakery

Former Duchess Bakery owner Larry Bontrager, left, is seen Friday with new owners Stephanie and Jason Neal and Roger Rich, right.

The Duchess Bakery will be reopening in mid-July under new ownership, owner Larry Bontrager announced Friday.

Duchess closed its doors at the end of May after being in business for more than 80 years.

Bontrager said the bakery first opened in its location on 1st Avenue SE in 1939, and he has owned the popular donut and sweets shop for the past 43 years, but it is time for him to move on.

“It’s got a lot of sentimental value to me, but sometimes you just have to let go,” he said in an earlier interview.

Bontrager will be passing along his family’s famous doughnut recipe and bakery to Jason and Stephanie Neal and Roger Rich. Bontrager has agreed to stay on to help train the new management and employees.

“I’m excited about the future of the bakery,” said Bontrager. “I think we have found great partners in the Neal and Rich families. They bring experience in the food and service industry as well as being local and passionate about the community. Good things are to come for Duchess Bakery.”

Jason Neal said, “Duchess has been a mainstay in our city for generations. We are both honored and thrilled to be trusted to continue the legacy Larry and his family started in our community.”

The Neals are natives of Cullman, born and raised in Cullman County. Jason owns and operates the local branch of Liberty National Life Insurance and Stephanie runs the Active Adult Center for the Cullman City Parks and Rec. Dept. Together they have owned and operated the Hanceville Dairy Queen since 2006.

Rich said he is excited to continue incorporating a family culture into the business. “Our family is excited to team up with the Neal family and serve the community with a great product that for 81 years has been a big part of your friend and family gatherings and brought a smile to the face of many.”

Rich is an Alabama native with over 33 years experience at Liberty National Life Insurance. He served as the Sr. Vice President of the company from 2008 to 2018. Roger has since then been the owner and operator of the Sunshine State Agencies of Liberty National for the state of Florida

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