Q&A with Peter Olesen

Peter Olesen
O&H Vice-President, Peter Olesen, a UW-Madison grad and future president of his family’s business.

You can’t head to Racine without hearing about “Kringle,” the flaky and buttery Danish pastry that has defined the city since its founding. This southeastern Wisconsin delicacy was made the state pastry in 2012.
O&H Danish Bakery, a Racine institution consistently voted “Best in Wisconsin,” makes their community—and their Kringle—a top priority. With a legacy rooted deep in family pride and tradition, O&H has spent the past 60 years focused on bringing the people of Wisconsin and the world their famous Kringle. Curb caught up with O&H Vice-President, Peter Olesen, a UW-Madison grad and future president of his family’s business.









Why is Danish history so important to Racine?

Racine is a melting pot of immigrants. Around the turn of the 20th century, the concentration of Danes in Racine rivaled just about any city in Denmark, excluding Copenhagen. The popularity of Kringle and Danish Bakeries in Racine to this day has helped maintain the deep-rooted history Racine has with Danish immigration.

How has the family business evolved over time?

[It was] started by my great-grandfather in 1949. Our bakery has seen each generation work hard to maintain the legacy and traditions brought to us by our ancestors, yet we continue to evolve the business as we look forward for future generations. In 1949, the first O&H Danish Bakery was less than 900 square feet. Today, we operate four retail stores in Racine and southern Milwaukee County and a successful mail-order business with nearly 60,000 square feet of combined retail and baking space.

What is it like to take on a business with so much legacy (and the best Kringle around)? Those are big shoes to fill.

I work hard every day to ensure we are staying true to our family roots, while at the same time focused on continual improvement. Our mission statement is “To make a great bakery, provide our customers with outstanding customer service and be an active partner in the local community.” Our family and employees fully believe in our mission and each day provides us with another opportunity to take part in fulfilling it.

What kind of relationship does O&H have with Racine and its community? How does it give back?

One of the principles of our mission statement is to be an active partner in Racine. Our family and employees are proud of our daily efforts to give back to the local community. We support local community organizations throughout the area in many ways, including in-kind donations to food shelters, crisis centers and other not-for-profit organizations that show a clear need and have an appreciation for our bakery.



About the author

Ann Marie Steib

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Lover of red lipstick, new media, risotto and bingeing on Netflix. Sufferer of wanderlust. Proud Badger, prouder sister.