Oakmont Bakery Burns Itself Badly

If it ain't broke, don't fix it...

Expanding a business is never easy - a lot of tough decisions have to be made and there's no guarantee they're going to be the right ones.

So you use your common sense. If your business is a bakery, you want to make sure you're in a location that has good foot traffic and parking. Baking has become an old-timey sort of business so it helps if the store has a traditional look like the iconic Vesuvio Bakery in SOHO

Oakmont Bakery had all that at their old location - a charming building on a popular block on Allegheny Avenue

It would have been great for the neighborhood if their need for a bigger store led them back up to Oakmont's main drag, Allegheny River Boulevard, which is desperately in need of revitalization

But who cares about the neighborhood when you only care about your business and your family? So instead of doing the right thing by expanding their business and strengthening the business district at the same time, the Serrao family threw common sense and any notion of the common good out the window and built a new bakery that looks like a car dealership and has more traffic problems than the Squirrel Hill Tunnel

The interior has all the charm of a Wendy's (without the splashes of color)

Where their decision making really went off the rails was their decision to relocate to Hulton Road, literally five hundred feet from the newly constructed, four-lane Hulton Bridge

Basically the new Oakmont Bakery is located on a highway off-ramp next to a high school and a gas station

The traffic situation is so screwed up the Post-Gazette felt the need to make a diagram with instructions

During restricted hours you can't simply make a left onto Hulton Road so you have to go around the block if you want to get back to the other side of the river

Independent bakeries are a dying breed but when they're done right they can contribute a lot to a neighborhood's vitality. It's impossible to think about Walnut Street in Shadyside without thinking of Prantl's. Back in the day Waldorf Bakery in Squirrel Hill enjoyed a similar status, as did Smith's Bakery & Candies in Wilkinsburg.

The advantages Oakmont Bakery had going for it in terms of location and role within the pedestrian business district are gone, and as always comments tell the real story

And who knew there's a sewage treatment plant right across the river?