A bakery born out of one mother's charitable goodwill has carried on for nearly the entire life of one of her sons: 66-year-old co-owner Tom Halepaska.

The 65-year-old Halepaska's Bakery has grown significantly from a staff consisting of Halepaska's mom, dad and three part-time employees to 46 employees in two locations baking 2,000 dozen cookies a week.

"Nothing happens overnight," Halepaska said about his business. "This is just a culmination of a bunch of hard work by my wife (Barbara) and I."

During Christmas time, the bakery is churning out 17,000 dozen cookies, according to Halepaska's estimates.

But 44 years ago Halepaska was thinking of other lines of work - like entering the oil field.

"My mom said, 'Why don't you give this a try? We sure need some help.' And here I am 44 years later," Halepaska said with a chuckle.

When he came in, he said his mother was used to doing things by sight. It was up to her son to quantify her recipes in order to create consistency within their products.

"If we can deliver consistently they'll come back consistently," he said. "Why they come in the first place? Because, we try to do a good job. Why do they keep coming back? Because we do a good job."

Halepaska, who is a master baker, said that over the years, he has seen food fads come and go, such as bagels and muffins, among others.

The latest fad, cupcakes, has stuck around longer than he thought they would - not that he's complaining.

The customers who Halepaska and his staff work with are sometimes multigenerational, stretching back decades.

"We commonly do 25th and 50th anniversary cakes for people who we did their wedding cakes for," Halepaska said. "We've done birthday cakes for their kids. One of our smaller slogans is 'We're not necessarily baking cakes, we're baking memories' because of the events in people's lives, and each year they have the cake from us."

Halepaska's Bakery

5805 John Stockbauer Drive

6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays; 6:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday

361-575-4715

BAKERY

First Runner-Up

Cimarron Express

1402 John Stockbauer Drive

361-576-9838

Second Runner-Up

Halepaska's Bakery

302 E. Rio Grande St.

361-573-4811

Other top finishers

Yummy Finds Eatery & Cupcakery

402 Salem Road

Rosita Bakery

206 W. Water St.

H-E-B Foods Plus

6106 N. Navarro St.

Kountry Bakery

6005 N. Main St.

House of Bread

6304 N. Navarro St.

Liberty Coffee Haus

206 Liberty St.

Kountry Bakery

802 E. 4th St., Hallettsville

SWEETS AND DESSERTS

First Runner-Up

Cimarron Express

1402 John Stockbauer Drive

361-576-9838

Second Runner-Up

Yummy Finds Eatery & Cupcakery

402 Salem Road

361-485-2285

Other top finishers

Halepaska's Bakery

302 E. Rio Grande St.

Cimarron Junction

7104 N. Navarro St.

Rosita Bakery

206 W. Water St.

Cookies by Design - The Original Cookie Bouquet

8607 N. Navarro St. Suite C

Cuero Pecan House

104 W. South Railroad St., Cuero

Huvar's Artisan Market & Catering

110 W. Juan Linn St.

House of Bread

6304 N. Navarro St.

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