Friday, July 06, 2012

Bus Tour: President Obama Visits Kretchmar's Bakery In Beaver, Pennsylvania

President buys Apple Pie and Cookies...and tries to persuade the press corps to indulge with him...
President Obama had barely crossed the Ohio state line into Pennsylvania when he popped out of Ground Force One at 12:51 PM for an "unscheduled" stop at Kretchmar's Bakery in the picturesque town of Beaver. With his big black bus as a backdrop, the President, clad in shirtsleeves and khakis, walked across the town's main drag, Third Street, to visit the family-owned establishment. It offers everything from wedding cakes to fine pastries, pies and cookies. The President opted for one of his favorite treats: Apple Pie. He also purchased some unidentified cookies--intended, he said, for the members of the press corps traveling with him. That caused a bit of a stand-off in the middle of the little shop. (Above: The President surveys the bakery case as members of the press watch)

As the President entered the store he was greeted by eight employees, including the proprietor, Lincoln Kretchmar, 36, whose grandfather bought the store in 1960. On the inside wall above the cash register, hung a brown-and-yellow T-shirt for sale that bore the inscription “Professional Cake Eater, Beaver PA,” over a silhouette of a cupcake. On the counter was another sign inviting customers to “try our artisan dog treats.” The President, however, was not tempted to buy a treat for First Dog Bo.

“We’re close to the Fourth of July, don’t you think apple pie is appropriate?" the President asked Kretchmar. “I really do. Let me get a classic apple pie.”

“Maybe I’ll get some cookies,” he added, and turned to the hardworking pros chasing him across the rustbelt.

“Press, do you want some cookies?” the President asked.

There was no response from the pack of journalists. On Thursday, the press corps had declined an offer of Presidential peaches during a stop at a farm stand in Ohio, with one journalist saying it would be necessary to pay for the fruit himself to avoid a conflict of interest.

“Will you consider this a bribe once again?” the President asked, vis the cookies.

Apparently. But the President was bent on getting the press corps to indulge, and suggested a compromise.

“Why don’t we get a dozen chocolate chip cookies and send them on the press bus, and I won’t know if you guys ate them, all right?" the President said.

"I know the photographers will eat them. Those guys have no shame. You know that’s right,” he added.

The deal was done.

The President then asked Kretchmar about what’s happening in Beaver. It’s hot, he was told. He didn't need to be told that.

At 12:56 PM the pool was ushered back out to the street, and at 1:03 PM the President emerged from the bakery carrying a yellow plastic bag which, cashier Dee Meers confirmed, contained the Apple Pie and cookies. They weren't chocolate chip, however, pool managed to note.

The President paid $13.20, using a $20 bill and telling Meers to keep the change as a tip, she said.

Outside the bakery, the President worked the ropeline, where a crowd of about 75 people had gathered to see him. Another 50 or so werewaiting in the town’s courthouse square two blocks away. (Above: Greeting fans outside the bakery, with his bus visible in the background)

At 1:17 PM the President was back aboard his bus and the motorcade was rolling, en route to Pittsburgh. He'd started his day with a breakfast of bacon, eggs, whole wheat toast and grits at Ann's Place, a diner in nearby Akron. That was followed by a tour of Summer Garden Food Manufacturing in Boardman, Ohio.

On Thursday in the Buckeye state, President Obama's bus tour included three "unscheduled" food stops. In the evening, he spent Happy Hour at Ziggy's Bar & Restaurant in Amherst, enjoying a Bud Light with locals. Earlier in the day he stopped at Kozy Corners restaurant in Oak Harbor for a cheeseburger lunch, followed by a stop for a rare purchase of local produce at Bergman Orchards Farm Market in Port Clinton. He also attended a scheduled ice cream social in Sandusky, at Washington Park.  The President was accompanied on his stops by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, one of his national campaign co-chairs, as well as White House aides.

Click here for all posts about the bus trip.

Info: Kretchmar's Bakery is located at 664 3rd Street, Beaver, PA 15009. Phone: (724) 774-2324.