Palo Alto Weekly
Eating Out - August 16, 2019
PROLIFIC OVEN TO CLOSE ... It started with a scaling back of the eclairs. The owners of The Prolific Oven struggled to find an available baking decorator to hire, so they temporarily made the French pastry in a way that was "less labor intensive." Months later, the job remained unfilled. Without sufficient staff, they had to discontinue some items.One of Palo Alto's longest-standing bakeries, The Prolific Oven will close on Aug. 31 due to a "severe" labor shortage and increasing cost of doing business in the Bay Area, the owners said Wednesday. "We just don't see it getting any better," said Regina Chan, whose parents Henry and Sophia Chan bought The Prolific Oven at 550 Waverley St. from Harriet Spier in 1996. "We wanted to pull the plug before things take a bad turn." They will also close their two other locations, in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, and the facility where the bakery's popular chocolate on chocolate and carrot cakes, pastries and other made-from-scratch baked goods are prepared. The Santa Clara bakery will shutter on Aug. 24 and Sunnyvale, Aug. 31. (They also once ran Prolific Ovens in Saratoga and Fremont, which have since closed.) "We used to (get) tons of applications for kids in high school, kids just graduating from school, kids in college who wanted a part-time job," she said. "We aren't getting those applications anymore." Over nearly four decades (the original bakery opened in 1980), The Prolific Oven baked cakes and other desserts for countless weddings, birthday parties, bar and bat mitzvahs and other special occasions. In the end, Regina said, they were unwilling to compromise on quality and reluctant to pass costs onto customers by increasing prices, Regina said. — E.K.
Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Elena Kadvany. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email email@example.com.