Anna Bakalinsky, owner of
Mila’s European Bakery in Thiensville, makes an
appearance on Milwaukee television recently to speak
about the re-opening of a storefront for the longtime
THIENSVILLE — Mila Kofman and her husband immigrated to
America in 1979 with two children and $500 in their
pockets. With a degree in food technology and a strong
passion for baking, she opened her small retail bakery
just two years after her arrival.
run by her daughter, Anna Bakalinsky, Mila’s has made
some big changes in an effort to remain a part of their
cherished community, but Mila’s legacy remains.
remember helping her at work when I was just a little
girl, and my dad peddling the baked goods to local
stores,” said Mila’s daughter. For Bakalinsky, after
graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the
natural progression led her back to her family’s bakery.
With Bakalinsky at the forefront, the family-owned
business means to grow and rejoin the lives of its
239 N. Main St. in Thiensville, there sits the newly
opened storefront of Mila’s European Bakery. Monday
through Saturday, from 6 a.m to 6 p.m., everything from
coffee cakes to almond horns sit behind the bakery
window. Bakalinsky, along with her 15 employees, makes
sure to keep that window stocked and inviting.
Started in 1981, Mila’s has been providing baked goods
in the surrounding area for decades. Today, you can find
grocery stores in Milwaukee, Madison and some cities in
Illinois that carry Mila’s products. Yet, for the
family-run business, it wasn’t enough.
variety of items are displayed on shelves to tempt
customers who visit the recently re-opened storefront
bakery in downtown Thiensville.
March 31, Bakalinsky and her family officially re-opened
Mila’s storefront with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Large
scissors and all, Bakalinsky made a splash back into the
community. A storefront bakery previously occupied space
in the same shopping center. It closed years ago as
Mila’s focused on wholesale operations.
asked the reason as to why Mila’s had decided to re-open
the storefront, Bakalinsky recounted how customers would
stop her in public, asking if the conventional, stop-in
bakery would ever return.
“That’s when I realized that the community had really
embraced Mila’s,” said Bakalinsky. “They brought us into
their homes and made us part of their traditions, and it
really touched my heart.”
Seeing a desire from her community, Bakalinsky has not
stopped at simply having a store for Mila’s baked goods.
“When a customer comes in, we don’t just say, ‘What can
I help you with?’ We strike up a conversation,” she
said. “We really pay attention to what their needs are.”
However, the passion and dedication to their community
does come with its own obstacles. Smaller bakeries
constantly have to deal with the looming threat of
larger ones. In addition, health trends present their
own set of unique challenges. Bakalinsky explained.
have to keep up with healthier alternatives.” That’s
where the paleo and flour-free choices come in.
is this ability to adapt that remains essential to
“It’s important to change with the times. It’s a lot of
hard work, determination, courage, and a good mind-set
to grow,” Bakalinsky said.
with Mila’s storefront on the rise, “changing with the
times” seems to be a trend that the Mila’s family has no
intention of ending any time soon.