Specialty bakery finds Santa it needed


Like something out of a holiday-season movie, Rose's Bakery on Central Street in Evanston has found the Christmas present it needed.

The bakery at 2901 Central St. had been sheduled to close today, for owner Rose O’Carroll's lack of $104,000 to keep the business open.

But at the last minute, bakery patron Marcus Lemonis came up with the money to save the business.

Lemonis, the chairman and CEO of Camping World and Good Sam, will become majority owner of the bakery, with O'Carroll staying on as a partner.

Lemonis recently appeared on the ABC television series “Secret Millionaire” where he returned to his hometown of Miami and helped save three charitable organizations there.

“Having gone gluten free over a year ago and becoming a patron of Rose’s Bakery & Wheat Free Café, I know the love and devotion that customers have for Rose’s as I am one of them,” said Lemonis in a news release. “I have been following the business closely, and when I heard that Rose would have to close its doors on Christmas Eve, I knew I had to step in and save the business."

"As the new owner and partner of Rose’s I am committed to not only keeping the business open but growing its customer base and having a successful and profitable business,” Lemonis added.

O’Carroll had begun a campaign to raise $104,000 before Christmas Eve to keep the business open. By Friday she had only raised around $13,000 and planned to shut the bakery's doors today.

But Lemonis struck a deal with O’Carroll where he wrote an initial check for $200,000 to become the majority owner of the business with a commitment of an additional investment of $150,000 over the next 18 months.

Lemonis intends to purchase new equipment for the Bakery and Café which will allow it to make many of its popular products more quickly and efficiently.

Lemonis pledged it will not affect the quality. “Making the business more efficiently doesn’t mean anything changes with the taste and quality of the food. It just means they will now be able to produce more of a good thing.”

In addition, the Lemonis investment means all employees of Rose’s Bakery & Wheat Free Café will keep their jobs, something they did not think would happen. “Besides being committed to the concept of a
gluten-free bakery and café, I hated seeing that these good people were going to lose their jobs the day
before Christmas,” added Lemonis.

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