A year after placing second in the state in the Sweetest Bakery in America contest, St. James' own Schmidt's Bakery was named the top bakery in Minnesota in 2019 out of 15 full bakeries. 

"It's pretty cool that we were ranked #1 this year," said Kris Engelbrecht. "I found out last Wednesday and I couldn't say anything to anybody. I was pretty happy when I found out."

This year, shops were split up into three categories; cake/cupcake shop, donut shop, full-line bakery. The state of Minnesota had 26 total entries in this year's contest.

Schmidt's has been in business since 1923. The local fixture is in its fifth generation of bakers and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Since 1923, the bakery has seen generations of local customers come through their doors.

"I think the biggest reason for our success is our customers," said Engelbrecht. "We have so many repeat customers. We have so many that remember coming in here as little kids. The people make this place special."

Schmidt's popularity at the state level comes from its unique taste.

"We're unique because we make things from scratch. Other places buy their products frozen from larger food distributors, thaw it out, and slap some frosting on it and there you go."

Some of the most popular fall items on the menu are the pumpkin cookies and the caramel apples, which see a boost in popularity right around the beginning of the school year. 

Last year, 4,500 dozen (54,000) pumpkin cookies were hand made by Schmidt's. This year, the bakery is on pace to match or even exceed that total.

On the national level, Schmidt's was voted the 16th sweetest bakery in America.

"The first time we ever did this, you would not believe the people who didn't know we were here, even though they were only 30 miles away."

Last fall, KEYC ran a story on the bakery, which promoted sales even further.

Even with their popularity, Schmidt's is still rolling out new products, and even bringing back some old-time favorites.

"We're just trying different things like mocha cakes and bringing old things back like jelly rolls," said Engelbrecht. "We're trying to incorporate things from way back when to try to bring back that nostalgia of when people were little coming in here."

Woman Lake Lodge (Hackensack) was named the top donut shop. Bella Nava Creations (Shakopee) was named the top cake/cupcake shop.