BIRMINGHAM – Pollmans have been rolling the dough for three generations at Pollman’s Bake Shop in Mobile.
Fred J. Pollman initially moved from New Orleans to Mobile to help at his brother-in-law’s bakery. In 1918, he opened his own business, which he successfully held until the Great Depression. He and his wife, Corinne, started over small in 1937. By 1950, his children – Fred J. Pollman Jr., Charles Pollman and Mary Pollman Bender – had acquired the business. The second generation added two more bake shops under the Pollman name.The business stayed in the family until 1981. For seven years, it operated under different ownership. Since 1989, Fred J. Pollman III and his wife, Rose, have owned and operated the three Pollman’s Bake Shops in Alabama’s port city. “We make sure everything tastes good, looks good and is ready for sale,” said Fred III. Crews come in at midnight to start baking, while the storefronts stay open until early evening. “We are still making some of the things that we did 100 years ago,” he added.
Dobash cake, brownies and coffee rolls stand out as the most popular treats. Pollman’s also introduced Mobile to the King Cake, a seasonal spring dessert served as a part of the traditional Mardi Gras celebration, along with po’ boy sandwiches, which originated in Louisiana.
“It is a good feeling to sell joy,” the third-generation owner said. “We sell comfort food.”
“As long as you are providing a good flavor cake, a beautiful cake, you can’t go wrong there,” he said, when asked how Pollman’s Bake Shops have endured. “How could that change?”
The Alabama Retail Association today honored Pollman’s Bake Shops, an Alabama Retail Association member since January of this year, as an Alabama Centennial Retailer. Carr, Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors, Slappey Communications and the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business were the luncheon sponsors. The business received a bronze plaque to place outside one of its bakeries and a certificate suitable for display inside.
“Pollman’s is a tradition in Mobile, a legacy, a legend,” said Danette Richards, director of Small Business Development for the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, who nominated Pollman’s Bake Shops for the honor.
“For a business to survive the dramatic changes of the past century is a remarkable achievement,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown. “It is fitting to celebrate the enduring first-century contributions Pollman’s Bake Shops have made to Mobile and the surrounding communities.”
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.
Rose Pollman, Pollman’s Bake Shops Inc. | 251.438.1511
Nancy Dennis, Alabama Retail Association | 334.551.0643 | 800.239.5423
Melissa Warnke, Alabama Retail Association | 256.338.0621 | 800.239.5423