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Spreading Happiness, One Pastry at a Time

Boonzaaijer’s Dutch Bakery: Where Tradition Matters

It’s 10 a.m. on a random Monday and Boonzaaijer's Dutch Bakery is bustling. Sweet scents beckon from the parking lot, which is nearly full. Inside the humble brick building on Fillmore, every table is full and every patron is smiling.

What makes this bakery special?

“We have the greatest variety of product you’ll find in town… (and) I think we do it well,” owner Stephen Boonzaaijer says.

Artisan breads. Beautiful pies. Triple-layer cakes. Fruit tarts. Scones. Turnovers. Marzipan batons. Vlaai (a traditional Dutch sweet pie topped with crumbles). A full case of pastries.

“Our biggest sales area is that pastry case,” Boonzaaijer says, nodding.

Among the favorites? Eclairs, napoleons, fruit tarts and “anything with Bavarian cream filling,” he says. Looking for an extra special treat? Pop in on Saturday mornings for oliebollen – simple round donut fritters with apples and raisins.

And past the cash register is another gem: a small "market" carrying prepackaged Dutch (and other European) goods such as spices, chocolates, candies, stroop waffles and more.

Fifth Generation Baker

This business was no whim.

Boonzaaijer is a highly trained, fifth-generation baker whose ancestors practiced the art in the Netherlands. His father eventually immigrated to Kalamazoo, Mich., where he set up shop. Boonzaaijer grew up in that still-thriving bakery, learning the traditions, and later made his way back to Holland to further refine his skill.

Boonzaaijer moved to Colorado Springs in his 20s and worked at The Broadmoor before opening his namesake bakery in 1999. (By the way, it’s pronounced “bone-z-i-er.”) Twenty-four years later, Boonzaaijer's has purposefully maintained its local profile.

“Part of being traditional is that your offering is going to be traditional,” he says.

Boonzaaijer’s prides itself on being reliable. Its 28 employees bake up the same goodies day after day with little variation – and that’s by design. Repeat customers know what to expect here. Rather than relying on a constant string of new items or on the temporary allure of coupons, they simply offer reliably delicious baked goods… every single day.

“I’d rather build my business around what we do well,” Boonzaaijjer says.

Making People Happy

Employees arrive at 5 a.m. to bake the breakfast pastries. Doors open at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays.

Customer Abigail Hayden is visiting family from Atlanta, GA. It’s her first time at Boonzaaijer’s.

“I thought it was great!” she says of the pastries she and her family consumed. It was so great, in fact, that their table was piled high with boxes of confections to take with them, as well.

Boonzaiijer, a father of seven, says he’s not going for the “magazine super-wow factor. We offer a quality product that is worth the time in line. … Hopefully, it adds some level of enjoyment to (customers’) lives.”

That’s why employee Doris Welch loves working there.

“You are making everybody happy,” she says. “You’re passing on happiness to others.”

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