Bill Mahoney wakes every day at 5:00 a.m., makes his morning coffee, puts on a plaid flannel shirt and black cargo shorts, walks out the front door of his house, which resides next to the river in the Whiteaker neighborhood, and arrives at work 10 minutes later.
At The New Day Bakery, Mahoney finds his bakers hard at work starting the ovens and getting ready for the day’s business. The smell of freshly baked scones and roasted coffee lingers in the air. Mahoney turns the sign on the front door from “Closed” to “Open!”
Mahoney has owned and operated The New Day Bakery for the past twenty-five years or so. Mahoney has always worked in the food industry, and the small bakery located on Blair Blvd. in the Whiteaker neighborhood has been a lifelong commitment and dream. The bakery’s exterior is decorated with an elaborate painting of a sunset with yellow, orange, and blue coloring to illustrate the beautiful sky. When you enter the inside of the bakery through the back patio you see a more conservative look than the outside leads you to believe would be the interior. The wooden floors are complimented with a soft yellow wall color and the there is a soft lighting throughout the seating area. The kitchen and bakers stations are open, so you can see them from wherever your table may be in the bakery.
Mahoney walks back and forth between the kitchen and the baker’s station, assisting each area with different tasks. He washes dishes in the kitchen and then darts back to the baker’s station to see that everything is running smoothly. He takes a tray of freshly baked pastries out of the oven and places it on the cooling rack and holds the oven door open as he slips a new tray into the oven. He currently has twenty-five employees, with three bakers and two separate cookie bakers. They all work together to make the best food possible and keep the bakery running at maximum efficiency.
“It’s kind of like farming,” Mahoney says. “It’s your life, it’s your livelihood.”
Mahoney makes it a priority to provide a safe and fun working environment for his employees. He says he knows that bakers often have difficult hours and it’s extremely hard work.
“I try to not burn people out,” Mahoney says. “I try to design [a work schedule] that’s functional. So that it’s not too hard to get here and do your work.”
Carl Marsh has been a baker at The New Day Bakery for 3 ½ years. “Bill’s really good at putting people together in a way to make good things happen,” Marsh says.
Mahoney started his journey towards being a baker when he was in college at Rowan University in New Jersey. He worked in the restaurant business through college to support himself, and when he graduated in 1974, he moved back to his home state of Texas to pursue his work in the food industry. He worked with the man who started the Schlotzsky’s Deli chain, and helped him expand it.
In Texas, Mahoney met his wife, and they later moved to Portland, Oregon because they wanted to experience the Oregon area. They lived along the coast, and Mahoney worked in the seafood industry for many years in the 80s. When he eventually moved to Eugene, he was working at a lunch café, but knew that he wanted to start a bakery.
He bought the property where the New Day Bakery currently resides. It took him about ten years to complete the renovations and get it up and running in the 90s, all the while working other restaurant and chef jobs to keep it going.
He says that he loves having a business in the Whiteaker. “I know that the Whiteaker neighborhood has had a bad reputation,” Mahoney says. “But I’ve lived and worked here since the 80s and it’s a great place to be.”
Mahoney’s drive to create an inviting work environment doesn’t stop at the bakery, he also reaches out to the neighborhood as well.
Karen Kesler works at The New Day Bakery behind the counter. “Bill is a real personable type of person, he really cares about people and the community,” Kesler says.
The New Day Bakery has started their newest event, which is the Farmers Market every Sunday from 11 – 3:00. They provide all types of food from pastries to fish, and everything in between to the community. Mahoney says that he enjoys doing new things all the time, because it keeps it interesting.
Sitting in a cluttered office tucked in the back of New Day Bakery, Mahoney leans back in his chair and smiles. He says, “I feel really blessed that I can do something that I feel like I fit into.”