Beloved Bay Area bakery closing all locations by end of August

A beloved bakery is closing its doors after nearly 40 years in business.

The Prolific Oven, which has locations in Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara, will shutter at the end of the month due in part to severe staffing shortages and the high cost of doing business in the Bay Area.

Now, customers are now scrambling to get their favorite cakes one last time.

To its loyal customers, the Prolific Oven is more than just a bakery. It's been a constant in their lives, present at birthdays and weddings, for four decades. 

Donna Stoner says, "They baked my wedding cake in 1990, Palo Alto and it was carrot."

And so Wednesday Donna Stoner came to get one final carrot cake before the bakery closes for good.

The Chan family, who took over the business in 1996, says they simply can't afford to go on.

"There's just constant struggles, and we've been struggling for quite some time," Regina Chan said. "We've just been pushing through because we are an institution. That's what people tell us."

The Prolific Oven started in 1980 in Palo Alto. The Chan family expanded, adding locations in Sunnyvale, and Santa Clara among others.

And while there is still a demand for their legendary chocolate on chocolate and carrot cakes, they can't find enough people willing to bake them.

A cake decorating position, for example, has been open for five months.

Chan says, "We haven't been able to find help, let alone good help. It's just been an accumulation of things, and we don't see the situation getting better, unfortunately."

Since they announced the closing, the phone hasn't stopped ringing with people like Barry Brummer, stockpiling favorites.

Brummer says, "We've ordered three big chocolate cakes. We'll put them in the freezer and save them for special occasions."

It's the cake he has used for birthdays for 25 years.

And he's not alone. The Chans have found people writing to tell them how they're practically part of the family.

They had hoped to keep these kinds of traditions going for future generations.

Regina Chan says, "It's been really wonderful to be reminded and to have tangible proof that we actually affected their lives. But again it's really sad that we won't continue to do so."

They're now scrambling to fill the influx of cake orders they've received.

The Prolific Oven will close it's Santa Clara location on the Aug. 24. The Palo Alto and Sunnyvale locations will shut their doors on Aug. 31.