Featured Local NewsSpotlight

Aunt Millie’s Moves To Waynedale

A major Fort Wayne retailer is planning to move its headquarters into Waynedale. This is according to Aunt Millie’s Bakeries company officials who announced their plans earlier this month. The firm is looking to vacate its building at 350 Pearl Street in downtown Fort Wayne and move to the former Star Bank headquarters, located at 6230 Bluffton Road, they stated.

The primary reason for the move? More space.

Melissa Koeneman, Director of Marketing for Aunt Millie’s, explained that the new Waynedale site will offer her firm’s executives significantly more elbow room to operate.

“There will be two times the office space of our current location and three times the total space,” she said. “And there will also be space for our laboratories, what is essentially our research and developments areas. This will definitely set us up for future growth.”

Koeneman stressed that the move will not affect her firm’s staffing levels. “There will be no staffing changes,” she said. “We’re taking everybody with us.”

She also noted that while her company’s current location is comprised of two floors, the new Waynedale office will only have one.

“The guys that deliver bread and office supplies will be very happy not to have to navigate those stairs anymore,” Koeneman joked.

Founded more than a century ago in 1901, Aunt Millie’s Bakeries produces baked goods for retail sale including breads, buns, rolls, English muffins, bagels, and donuts.

The company’s leader said moving his headquarters will not be an easy task.

“It is a little bittersweet in the fact that we’ve been at 350 Pearl Street since I was 8 years old,” said Aunt Millis president and CEO, John F. Popp. “But Aunt Millie’s is not a building ­, it’s our people that make our company.”

As for the iconic Aunt Millies’ sign with rotating bread slices? That will stay put for the foreseeable future. Aunt Millie’s has retained ownership of the sign, and Surack Real Estate has, “graciously agreed to let it remain on the current building for a period of time,” Popp said in a news release.

“At some point in time, if they decide it no longer fits their plans, we will gladly remove it and relocate it to a place that it is permitted by the city and zoning officials,” he continued.

Sweetwater Sound founder and local developer Chuck Surack bought the building in 2018, after the company ceased production there.

At the time, more than 100 Aunt Millie’s management employees remained at the site. Surack Enterprises is developing a seven-story mixed-use building near the address, which is set to be named The Pearl.

Koeneman said her company doesn’t plan to alter the current Star Bank edifice much.

“We may just create a better entrance environment, paint the outside, and put up a new sign,” she said.

Essentially, the entire move was simply an operation to find a headquarters better suited for Aunt Millie’s, its staff, and its future.

“We just found a building that could support our staff and our future growth,” Koeneman noted.

Michael Morrissey
Latest posts by Michael Morrissey (see all)

Michael Morrissey

Michael is a professional writer and journalist. He attended South Side High School and Northwestern University. He has written for newspapers in Michigan City, Indiana; Pekin, Illinois; and Bradenton, Florida. He also has written for and edited websites in Florida and San Francisco, California. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer