By Jennifer Grimes
Triplicate staff write
Dressed all in white and splattered with flour and batter, Ray Young still has a fire in his eyes when he tells the story of Glens Bakery and Restaurant. It has survived 53 years in Crescent City.
A lot of it is determinism and hard work. And, of course, the main thing is the customers that have stood by us, Ray said, explaining how theyve stayed successful this long.
The Glens saga began in 1947 when Rays father Glen left the Army with $400 and a dream to open a bakery.
He brought his wife and 13-year-old son Ray from Medford and moved into the old Enderts Building that used to be on 2nd Street. Glens opened shop in what could only be described as a colorful downtown.
In the early 1950s, many of the buildings downtown had second floors that were rented out. Several were inhabited by houses of ill repute or madams, according to Ray. The upstairs of Glens was such a place, but only for a couple of years, he said.
Then came 1964, and the tsunami that would change the landscape of Crescent City.
Glens like many other businesses, were wiped out by the wave.
Ray tells a story of trying to save some of the equipment. He and Glen made a desperate attempt to pack up what they could and move it to their cabin by the river. But, a couple of months later, the river flooded and washed out the cabin and the equipment they had stored there.
Those were hard times, but back then people here pulled together to help out, he said.
Glens has also endured the re-routing of Highway 101, which used to flow down 2nd Street, up H Street then east on 9th Street.
There were also a lot more restaurants and other small businesses downtown that kept customers coming, said Ray. Now theres not much of anything because of the big chain stores.
The building Glens calls home today was built a few months after the tsunami. It has maple work floors and butcher block work tables.
It is truly a family business. Ray worked with his dad from the beginning. He made morning bakery deliveries out of an old Ford Model A truck. Then after school he would go back and help in the kitchen.
Now that Glen is retired and Ray is 66, Rays two sons, Ray Jr. and Rory Young, help keep the place going.
Ive worked 12 hour nights for the last 53 years. Thats why there arent many bakeries any more; too much work involved, he said.
One secret to Glens success is the large and loyal following that crowds the old-style diner.
Local Attorney, Scott Hoxeng can be seen at the lunch counter most Fridays.
I like the fact that you see all the old timers of Del Norte in there. Its a friendly atmosphere, Hoxeng said.
Joe Jager, owner of Acme Painting Company has been a regular at Glens for 27 years.
Its the last surviving icon of the old Crescent City. Especially the old downtown, he said.
Theres always somebody in there you know. And what I like about it is, I basically dont have to say anything, Ginneen always knows what I want, said Jager.
Ginneen Thompson has been on the wait staff there for 23 years. Others on the staff say theyve been there 26 years and 14 years.
Im real fortunate to have these employees. Theyre terrific people, Ray said.
Its actually very satisfying to know youre pleasing people and to see the same customers come in day after day.