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Some Crust shows off history of Claremont

Walking into Some Crust is like walking into a time capsule.

The old walls are full of stories of Claremont’s past and present as the floor fills with people shuffling in to get their morning coffee and pastries. Many Claremonters are familiar with this city institution, and have grown up along with it.

“I’ve got kids working for me now who used to come in as toddlers,” Larry Feemster, who bought the bakery in 1997, said.

Larry and his son, Scott Feemster, are the proprietors of the bakery, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Part of the 100th celebration is an impressive collection of old photographs from Claremont’s past—pictures of buildings that have come and gone and the people who lived their lives in the growing citrus town. The photographs were curated with the help of Claremont stalwarts Joan Bunte and Paul Wheeler, with a little help from the labyrinthine Claremont Courier photo archives.

One of the photos stands out—it is a picture of a marge tin structure with horses gathered around it. According to Larry Feemster, it is a photograph of the old Claremont Feed & Fuel, a former staple of early Claremont.

Horses and carriages would pull up to the business, load up on supplies, and go on their way. It was sort of like a nearly iteration of the drive-thru. It stood where the Starbucks/Wells Fargo is today, a testament to the ever-changing face of the Village.

Larry Feemster, who used to hold an executive position at In-N-Out before getting into the bakery business, remembers how much Claremont has changed over the years, from a quiet town to a bustling destination.

“In the old days, you can shoot a cannon across the street, and you wouldn’t hit a car,” he joked.

But the essence of Some Crust has stayed the same, even if hands have changed over the past century. By Larry’s count, there have been five different owners—the Feemsters included—over the years before he bought the business in 1997.

Since buying the bakery, the Feemsters have tried to keep some of the old recipes—such as the mocha cookie and the blueberry cheese danish—that made the bakery a local favorite when previous owner Dorothy Demke opened Some Crust in 1980.

Scott Feemster told a story about how a member of a family who previously owned the bakery—the Hodges—walked in a few years ago to reminisce. The Hodges bought the bakery around the start of World War 2, Scott says, and bought a massive oven as surplus from Brackett’s Field when the war was over.

The oven was so enormous, Scott says, that a special room had to be attached to the back of the bakery to accommodate it.

“It was literally so big that they built the back room where it sits on the back of the bakery,” Scott said.

After all these years, that oven is still in use today, a testament to Some Crust’s enduring legacy in Claremont. “The thing is back then, they used to build stuff to last, just like old cars and motorcycles,” Scott Feemster said.

Employees at the bakery tend to stick around, too. Jack Housen has been with the bakery for 28 years, getting hired first to make dough and moving his way up to co-general manager. Katrina Murillo has been decorating wedding cakes for the bakery for 18 years. It’s a sign of a good and strong business to have workers stay for a while.

As for the future of the bakery, Scott says the main goal is to just keep chugging along, making improvements here and there.

“Honestly just keeping on with what we do, just basically try to refine and get better at what we do,” he said.

That mission is on the upswing, as Scott mentioned that the bakery has two new vans and a booming wedding cake business—at one point, Some Crust made cakes for 40 weddings in a single weekend.

As the business grows, the message stays the same—make good food and push harder to be the best bakery they can be.

When asked about Some Crust’s legacy in Claremont, Scott Feemster pulls back, acknowledging the history while also making a point to not take it for granted.

“It definitely seems like we consider the bakery to be an institution in Claremont,” he said. “I think everybody feels that way.”

The historical pictures will be on display until the end of December.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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