116-year-old bakery adding bed & breakfast

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A 116-year-old bakery is now making plans to also be a bed and breakfast.

The Sykora Bakery on Wenesday, November 6, 2019 (JACKIE KENNON/KCRG).

This summer, rising flood insurance premiums had Sykora Bakery owner John Rocarek wondering how he'd keep the business afloat. Thanks to thousands of dollars of community donations, he now has a plan on how to keep above the bottom line.

“The Kozak family started the bakery in 1903, and it's been a Czech bakery ever since,” Rocarek explained.

The Sykora Bakery is a special place for Barb Szczesniak.

“My husband actually proposed to me here on the front step of the Sykora bakery,” she reminisced.

She's been a customer for years, and an employee for the last couple of months.

“I think it brings back a lot of memories for people that grew up here in town and it just brings them back to what they're used to in their heritage,” Szczesniak said. “A lot of people tell us I've been coming here since I was a little kid.”

People have been coming for generations. “It reminds them of grandma's house. And that's the best part,” Rocarek said.

Soon, people can stay at the bakery overnight. Plans to add the upstairs accommodations began over the summer, as a way to pay for rising flood insurance premiums. The community donated more than $9,000, and a Linn Area Credit Union loan covered the rest of the renovation costs. Returning the upstairs of the bakery to what it used to look like.

“It’s great,” Rocarek said. “We're in good shape and we're going to be here for a long time.”

A perfect spot, for out of town Czechs.

“It already feels homey, but how much homier can it get than actually sleeping here and waking up to the fresh bakery,” Szczesniak said.