Who is Anna

Having worked at Anna’s Bakery for a few months now, I would be no stranger to the amount of questions customers and patrons ask on a daily basis. “What time do you close? Can you split my burrito in half? Where are the napkins?” However, one question in particular stands out to me: “May I speak to Anna?” Now, I know what people really mean is that they want to speak to the owner/manager; but the reason I find this question humorous is because, well, no one who works here is named Anna.

Though it did lead me to wonder, who is Anna, anyways?

Allow me to take you through a list of the most common assumptions and see if any of these people are Anna, from Anna’s Bakery.

Is it her?

Photo taken by Sydney Hudlow. Lisa Bolter smiles for the camera after a long day at work mixing, baking, torching, and boxing approximately 1,200 lemon meringue pies last September for the annual Lemon Festival.

While it may be a good guess, she is not Anna. The woman in this photo is Lisa Bolter, the current owner of the bakery since 1990.

Having first started working part time at Anna’s in 1986, Lisa was a sophomore in college who had goals of becoming a court stenographer. However, her career plans took a 180 when she and her co-worker were given a huge opportunity. “The owners at the time offered it for sale to myself and a gal I was working with, and she immediately said ‘Yes! I think that’s a great idea!’ And I was thinking ‘Oh my gosh- no!’” Bolter said. Despite her initial reservations, Lisa was eventually convinced by her new business partner Deborah Weber (aka Debbie) into taking the role. “She kind of talked about it and said ‘This is an excellent opportunity.’ So, that’s after a little convincing, I thought ‘Yeah, I could do this,’” Bolter said.

Being the owner for over 30 years, most people that come into the Bakery know Lisa as Lisa. However, that wasn’t always the case; Bolter has had her fair share of being mistaken for Anna, though she doesn’t seem to mind it. “‘You can call me Anna, as long as my husband remembers that I’m Lisa.’ I used to say that a lot. But no, people can call me Anna all the time, I’ll definitely answer to that.”

How about her?

Photo provided by Bethany Graible. Bethany Graible has been co-manager at Anna’s for nearly 3 years. Some may recognize her in previous years when she would dye her hair bright colors like pink and blue.

Once again, you’d be mistaken. Though she is a familiar face in the Bakery, she is the current assistant manager of Anna’s bakery.

Though Bethany has worked at the bakery for the past 6 years, she wasn’t always a manager at Anna’s. “[Before] I was just a front sales staff person, and then right before the COVID-19 quarantine I [got] promoted,” Graible said. Despite being promoted during a hectic time for everyone, Bethany and the bakery were able to persevere through the current pandemic.

“[Everything] was all happening all at the same time… it was just all a transition,” Graible said.

Though recently most patrons of Anna’s Bakery know Lisa is not Anna, Bethany has had a different experience. “Yesterday I was here [helping a customer] and they were like, ‘Are you Anna?’ and I was like ‘No, but I do get that question a lot,’” Graible said. However, one wouldn’t need to worry if they mistake her for Anna, as much like Lisa, she does not think badly of it. “That’s kind of nice that they think I’m Anna. It’s like a flattering kind of compliment almost. But no, I don’t own the bakery or anything.”

Is it the girl in the logo?

Photo from Anna’s Bakery website. This charming logo has become recognizable to many. One aspect that stands out is the amount of detail used. (Anna’s Bakery)

No, she is not Anna either, but she is based off of a real person. The origin story of the logo involves a young girl and her mother that used to frequent the bakery. “[She and her mom] used to come in because she has 2 older sisters that would go off to school, and part of their tradition was, after they dropped off the older sisters at school, mom and the gal in the logo would come to the bakery and have a treat,” said Bolter. Something that the young patron did very often, as many younger kids do, was walk up and touch the glass case to have a look inside. Having noticed her do so, added on to the fact that they didn’t have a logo prior, inspiration for a logo was born. Bolter added, “We thought, ‘Well… that’d be a cute logo, speaks to everyone’s inner child.’”

Malia, the young girl in the logo, is currently an adult with children of her own. Both she and her mother stop by the bakery quite frequently to this day.

Ok, so who is Anna?

An interesting fact that I learned along the way was that “Anna’s Bakery” didn’t always have that name. Having been around since 1968, the original name of the bakery was “Adams Martin’s Bakery,” named after the Scottish American war veteran who decided to learn the trade of baking after WW2. He opened up shop in the now closed Fairview location, but eventually sold his business to a woman named Anna and her husband in 1984.

Anna and her husband ran the bakery as co-owners, up until they sold the bakery to business brokers; Who eventually offered it to Lisa and Debbie in 1990. Though she currently has not much to do with the bakery other than her name, she is still a local living in Montecito, and runs a mobile dog grooming business.

Why didn’t the new owners change the name again?

Seeing as the bakery name was changed from Adam’s to Anna’s the first time it switched owners, why didn’t Lisa and Debbie do the same? The reason: phone books.

Some readers may be too young to remember phone books, as telephone companies stopped printing them around the early 2010’s; but these giant books that would be mailed to your house would contain all the local phone numbers belonging to people, businesses, and organizations who registered. The most important part being, the order was alphabetical. “It was beneficial to have a business name that started with an ‘A,’” Lisa explained. Being at the beginning of the alphabet meant that people looking for a baker would be more likely to choose you. “Anna’s was always a great name for a business.”

However, due to the fact that everything’s moved online, and phone books being considered outdated, alphabetical order isn’t as important as it once was. Yet one would be remiss to say that the name isn’t iconic in the slightest.

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