Master Baker Wayne Ernst and Hopeloft Founder Melissa Helmbrecht
Century Bakery is a local icon that holds a place in the hearts of many of us who have grown up in the community. Whether your favorite is their fried donuts, honeymooners, fastnachts, or any of the countless specialties that can only be found at their small brick storefront, we all have known them as a staple in the community.
Wayne Ernst, the first Master Baker in the country, and his wife Barbara have spent more than 30 years managing the bakery after assuming ownership from Wayne’s father. Wayne was a third generation baker devoted to his craft and dreamed of the bakery continuing on for years to come.
In 2018 our own Melissa Helmbrecht worked with Wayne and Barbara to create a plan that would continue their legacy and transform Century Bakery into a social enterprise - a business organized for a charitable purpose. The details of the partnership were finalized in September of 2019, and since then Hopeloft and the Ernst’s have been working together to develop a job training program utilizing the bakery to support local foster youth who are transitioning out of foster care. The program will not only support a demographic in great need of work experience, but will ensure the communal impact of the Bakery will continue on for centuries. Thanks to the Ernst’s hard work and vision, profits from every purchase will now go towards supporting transitional foster youth right here in South Jersey.
As we mourn the passing of the first Master Baker himself, we have him to thank for creating a beloved business that will support those in need in our own community.
“Every purchase made at Century Bakery, thanks to Wayne’s efforts, now supports local charities that serve Bridgeton’s most vulnerable children and families. I cannot think of a greater legacy.” said Melissa Helmbrecht.
Hopeloft is grateful to be a part of preserving Wayne Ernst’s memory, carry on his vision of helping those in need, and continue serving the community the amazing donuts and pies he perfected.
Century Bakery joins with SNJToday.com, The Alms Center, CASA of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem Counties, Revive South Jersey, Operation South Jersey, and First Star among over twenty others as part of Hopeloft's family of organizations dedicated to serving those in need, and improving the lives of the people in our community. Stop by the Bakery Tuesday through Saturday from 6am to 6pm to pick up some of their delicious treats.