Steve J. Monack, son of Slovenian immigrant parents, learned the craft of baking in Pueblo, Colorado while working at Sajbel & Stank grocery store in about 1920, according to family lore. By the mid to late 1920’s, Monack opened the White Lily Bakery in Pueblo’s 100 block of Union Avenue. Within a year or two, Mr Monack moved to a location across the street, renaming the business Banquet Bakery. Banquet Shop French bread was delivered to many of the town’s neighborhood grocery stores which were prevalent in that era before large, national chain grocery stores came to Pueblo. Many generations of Pueblo families enjoyed Banquet doughnuts, cakes, cookies, breadsticks, hard rolls and French bread over the years.
By 1971, Ivan and Olene wanted to retire and they were confident that Stephen Monack was the man who would successfully continue the traditions of their bakery. Stephen and his wife Janet merged the two long-time establishments, changing the business name to Banquet-Schusters. They officially launched the merged bakery on July 17, 1971. It was truly a family enterprise. Besides Stephen and Janet and their sons, Stephen’s sister Barbara worked there until her retirement decades later., along with various nieces, nephews, and other relatives working alongside dedicated employees.
Stephen Monack continued producing the ever popular products originating from both bakeries. He also developed his own recipes for additional tasty treats. Things like the ever-popular holiday cut-out cookies, decorated sugar cookies as well as the undecorated frosted sugar cookies.
After Stephen’s untimely death in 1999, his sons continued the family tradition as they became the third generation of Monacks baking and operating the iconic business, continuing the baking legacy of their father and their grandfather.