Alumni Outlook Magazine


Al Marotz is co-owner of the new River Valley Bakery in Durand.

Al Marotz ’73 is busy in his second career as a baker at River Valley Bakery, which opened in June in downtown Durand.

Marotz wasn’t always a baker. After graduating from UW-Stout with a degree in marketing education he taught marketing and entrepreneurship at Menomonie High School and was chair of the business department. He retired in 2004 after 31 years.

His interest in cooking and baking started at home in Sheboygan, where he was born into a big German family — four sisters and two brothers. Much to the delight of his sisters, he said, Marotz welcomed helping his mother in the kitchen. This afforded him the opportunity to do some tasting and he didn’t have to help with the dinner dishes.

In addition to teaching and cooking, hunting and fishing are activities that play a significant role in his life. For many years he has taught and continues to teach hunter education classes.

In 2000 he discovered the joys of making sourdough bread from a starter. In the woods he would point the car toward the sun and put the dough on the dashboard to rise.

Marotz and Richard Thomas, co-owners of the bakery, are old friends. In 2005 Thomas, who owned the former Creamery Restaurant in Downsville, encouraged newly retired Marotz to apply as a baker apprentice at the restaurant. Marotz’s prior experience with baking coupled with the hands-on instruction turned him into a master baker.

His second career was born. The bakery offers bread, scones, muffins, cookies, Danishes and sticky buns — all made from scratch. “If you buy a plum Danish, the plums have been picked, peeled and pitted by hand,” Marotz said.

UW-Stout has been and continues to figure greatly in Marotz’s life. His father, William E. Marotz, attended the university and his brother William H. Marotz is an alumnus with two degrees, B.S. ’65 and M.S. ’68. As a baker apprentice, Al’s master teachers were Paul Skalbeck B.S. ’05, M.S. ’07 and Rachel Ossman ’06. The bakery’s business card was designed by Pearl Holmstadt ’11.

Marotz and Thomas plan to plant wheat on farm land in the Chippewa River valley watershed, mill it and use it for their flour. The farmer who will plant the wheat also is an alumnus, Matt Messa ’79.