UPDATE: Bakery Changing Hands Amid Lawsuit

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Stacey Page contributed to this article.)

UPDATE: Word today from Cerulean that 1000 Park Baking Co. will be transitioning to new management. The management of Cerulean, in the Village at Winona Lake, will be taking over operations, and the bakery’s name will be changed to Light Rail Cafe and Roasters.)

“We were approached by Aaron, and we have been looking for a location to expand our coffee roasting,” says Caleb France of Cerulean. “So we decided to take over the bakery and hope for a great transition with the current staff and for the community. We are so excited to expand the breakfast menu and continue to have such an asset in our village.”

Wilcoxson’s exemplary customer service is sure to be missed, but, considering the trying economic times, his staff is fortunate not be forced into unemployment. France says he doesn’t expect any interruption in business as Wilcoxson exits at the end of September, and the restaurant should remain open.

Saturday, Sept. 21, was a bittersweet occasion for the crew at 1000 Park Baking Co. Owner Aaron Wilcoxson hosted a party at the quaint café to celebrate six and a half years of serving food and drink.

During the festivities, though, Wilcoxson announced that at the end of the month, 1000 Park Baking Co. would no longer be in business and said he is “no longer welcome in the Village after this month … basically, I have the wrong last name.”

Rumors had circulated that the business might be closing. Wilcoxson confirmed them on Saturday night with a speech in the midst of the festivities calling the business “collatoral damage” in what he claimed was “baseless … squabbling between two people.”

The building where the café is currently located is not one of those in the center of a lawsuit between Wilcoxson’s father, Brent Wilcoxson, and Dr. Dane Miller. Dr. Miller is suing Wilcoxson, his former partner in Winona Restoration Partners LLC, accusing him of wrongfully obtaining real estate and mishandling financial information and documents.

Claims filed over a year ago in Kosciusko Superior Court 1 allege that Wilcoxson wrongfully transferred 13 parcels of real estate from Winona Restoration Partners LLC, which Dr. Miller and Wilcoxson formed in 1996, to Wilcoxson’s own company, Winona Arts, Restoration & Preservation Inc., which he founded in 2006.

According to information from the National Center for Charitable Statistics, W.A.R.P. had total assets of over $4.5 million when the lawsuit was filed. Internal Revenue Service Form 990, filed by Brent Wilcoxson in 2006, shows he founded the nonprofit with just over $4 million in assets. The value of the properties at the center of the lawsuit total more than $4 million.

While the news that the café is closing was disappointing for those in attendance, Aaron Wilcoxson encouraged everyone to celebrate the friendships and sense of community created during the six and a half year run of 1000 Park Baking Co.

The lawsuit is ongoing, but both sides requested that all proceedings be closed.

  • Sarcristic

    Hmmn…odd….I thought the college tuitions and several assets “owned” by the family was paid for with the money Brent took/theived from the town of Winona Lake and Dane Miller…

  • Dave Carnes

    The theft was real. Remember the Bible. The sins of the father will be visited on his children.

    • Samford Washington

      Yeah that’s right before forgiveness.

    • Teresa Calhoun

      This is where you need to remember innocent until proven guilty by a jury of peers, How often we forget this!!!!!!

    • Jordan

      You sir, are frustrating, and have become a quotable judgmental Christian. Do you not care that somebody uninvolved is being pushed out of his passion and business by a millionaire who is just waving his big stick? You make it seem like God doesn’t care about injustice.

      • Michael Pahl

        Innocent until proven otherwise.
        PS – We owe the entire TOWN of Winona Lake to this “Millionaire waving his big stick” he has funded thousands of Grace College students and the entire Winona Lake Village. Without him it would still be a trailer park and look like Silver Lake…

      • furd burfle

        Hey Jordan, Brent Wilcoxson was blatantly ripping Dane miller off and hoping he would be too busy to notice. It would be foolish to think the boy was entirely ignorant of his fathers methods.

        • Michael Pahl

          This is America…innocent until proven otherwise.

      • elvis

        God has blessed an amazing man with faith knowledge strength forgiveness and yes money as well. God also taught Dane that to give is much better than to receive. Dane and MaryLouise are the giving and caring couple anyone could ever hope to meet. Shame on you to assume just because a man or woman who worked hard and has money that they have the right or would “wave their big stick”……. He gives from the heart only asking for honesty in return.

  • Maria Jean McCrum Nicholl

    so sorry this is happening to you Arron best wish go out to you

  • Samford Washington

    The employees of the bakery always treated me well. I love that place.

  • ChadTwombly

    Aaron and his staff have done an excellent job creating products and an atmosphere that the Village of Winona should be holding up as a example of success to be modeled. I am a bit of a coffee snob and travel the country, I put the 1000 Park Bake Cafe in my top 10 coffee houses in the country and the best in Indiana. Aaron will be greatly missed by many and the Village will be less without the Bake Cafe.

    Regarding comments about the legal issues, I cannot speak to this and frankly no one accept the lawyers and the parties involved can. Be careful to put out slanderous comments when you don’t know all the facts.

    The fact that I do know is the Bake Cafe will be missed and they did an excellent job.

  • Jen

    close minded bible rhetoric? sounds serious… *sigh*

    • Dave Carnes

      I was just stating the obvious.I was not making judgement On the young man and I also like the business.The sins of the father have been visited on the child.It’s a great piece of wisdom no matter the source.

  • furd burfle

    The collateral damage is a result of the long standing tradition of neer-do-well’s riding on the coat tails of those who actually made their fortunes the legitimate way.

  • Joyanne McQuade

    My favorite place to eat! I have no knowledge of the situation, but wsh this could have a different outcome that was in the interest of the community. The 1000 Park Baking Co. adds so much to the Village of Winona, and will be greatly missed!

  • Michael Pahl

    What does this really mean?

    Prices will skyrocket.

    • furd burfle

      I know, blame it on Obamacare!