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Couple returns to Strasburg after 30 years to open bakery

By Ryan Cornell

STRASBURG -- Like everyone's first love, the Shenandoah Valley never quite escapes peoples' minds. It has its ways, however mysterious or magical, of reeling former residents back.

Such is the case with Judy Ray, nee Kline, who was born and raised in Strasburg and left the valley for 30 years before returning with her husband David in May. She said businesses might have come and gone since she was last in town, but the relaxed pace of life hasn't changed.

"The first thing I noticed is the Virginia Restaurant," she said. "That was my hangout, and it's now Sager Realty.

"There's been a lot of differences, but a lot has stayed the same. People's Drugstore is still there, but it's kind of sad that the Home Theater is not open anymore."

The couple opened a bakery in the former Museum of American Presidents on Massanutten Street on Dec. 7 and have attracted a fleet of regulars since brewing their first cup of coffee four weeks ago.

"There's been such a positive response from the community," Judy Ray said. "Every day has been busier than the one before."

She said their bakery, Sweet Annie's Flour Shop, takes on the same Southern hospitality and attention to detail as the "Comforts of Home" bakery and Kendall Manor bed and breakfast they were operating while living in Eufaula, Ala.

Sweet Annie's Flour Shop offers soups, sandwiches and salads for lunch and Danishes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes and brownies, though she admits that her specialties are her deep dish pies and cinnamon rolls. Everything is made from scratch, she said, and focuses on quality above quantity.

"What we're trying to do is for people to relax for a few minutes and enjoy something simple like a cup of coffee or a piece of pie," she said. "We've become a drive-thru nation where we don't sit and enjoy our food like we used to."

Where: 130 N. Massanutten St., Strasburg
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday to Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
Cost: $3.50 for cinnamon rolls; $15 for small pie with a $5 refund for returning dish; $23 for large pie with a $3 refund for returning dish
Call: 540-230-9354
Online: sweetanniesflourshop.com

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com

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