WATERLOO, Ill. – A beloved bakery in Waterloo is closing its doors after a fire caused significant damage to the building. 

The fire in late September last year did a number on Ahne’s Bakery in downtown Waterloo. The owners shared the heartbreaking news that they will not reopen in a Facebook post.

“Ahne’s has just been a staple of this community for, I think, 50 years,” said Elizabeth Hahn, owner of Philomena and Ruth.

Hahn said one of the most exciting things for her and her family was crossing the street to get donuts and pastries. 

“I love taking my niece there, and she would always pick out cookies,” she said. “And the smiley face cookies are always the favorite ones. And I would always take a picture of the smiley face, like, up in town! So we could say ‘Waterloo Smiles.’” 

Fond memories and traditions were born thanks to Ahne’s. 

“Mary Reynolds, her dad Bill, started the bakery…and Mary was in my class,” said Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith. “I can remember roller skating in there when they built the addition onto it in the back.”

The Ahne family took ownership of the bakery back in 1973. Since then, the bakery has won several awards. 

Smith said the bakery helped him get through a tough time when he was in the hospital. 

“The one nurse’s aide brought me – she’s from Waterloo here,” he said. “She brought me for my graduation from physical therapy, she brought me a cheese Danish from Ahne’s Bakery. I hate losing them. I was hoping they’d rebuild, but the price of materials is really hard right now.” 

The owners said the cost of rebuilding and re-modeling was too high. However, the community hopes to one day be able to get a taste of Ahne’s donuts and pastries.