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Kermit's Bakery

For 30 years, Tupelo customers flocked to Kermit’s Bakery on Main Street.



Written and Researched by Leslie Criss  |  Photos Contributed

 

“When I was a child we lived out in the country in east Tupelo. Every Saturday we usually ‘went to town,’ and that trip always ended with a stop at Kermit’s Bakery for cream horns. They were just the best taste of happiness in the world!” — Debra Byrd, Tupelo

 

For at least three decades, Kermit and Clara Summerford held a sweet spot on Tupelo’s Main Street. The two-story brick building, across from Reed’s, was the site of Kermit’s Bakery.

 

Kermit Summerford, who learned about the bakery business in Columbus, moved to Tupelo and worked in Toney’s Bakery in the early 1940s.

 

Toney’s was located on the first floor of the Kinney Hotel on Troy Street. In 1948, Summerford bought Toney’s and moved the business to Main Street and renamed it Kermit’s Bakery.

 

Summerford and wife Clara were at the bakery by 3 or 4 every morning, six days a week, said niece Lisa Summerford Buse.

 

Clara was ever present, taking care of customers and running the business, while her husband baked and decorated.


Buse went on Saturday mornings and stayed at the bakery while her dad, Lionel Summerford, Kermit’s brother, went to get a haircut.

 

“Talk about pure sugar,” Buse said, laughing. “Uncle Kermit would give me a little white paper sack and tell me to get whatever I wanted.

 

“When I turned 13, he made my birthday cake that looked like a baby grand piano. I didn’t play, but he always wanted me to,” she recalled. “He also made my wedding cake.”

 

Kermit’s was the place for fresh doughnuts, which were always half price when they became “day-old.”

 

Tupelo-born Vicki Helms Carter, longtime resident of New Jersey, remembers Kermit’s cream horns. And she is not alone. Several who shared their Kermit’s memories included cream horns as their favorite treats.

 

Summerfield sold Kermit’s in the early 1970s. He later served several terms as a Tupelo city alderman. He died in 1990.

 

The building at 124 West Main Street has, in the years since the bakery, held multiple businesses, including Kermit’s Outlaw Kitchen, and it will soon be home to Van Atkins Jewelers.

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