CADOTT — The saying goes, “close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades.” In Cadott, you might have to leave horseshoes off that list.

The Cadott Bakery’s horseshoes, a U-shaped doughnut with maple frosting, have for years been one of the bakery’s signature treats, and once they’re gone for the day, your best bet is to come back earlier the next day.

“The horseshoe has been here for quite a few years. They are a big deal here,” Cadott Bakery owner Debra McCarthy said.

For more than 100 years, residents of the Chippewa County village of Cadott have been able to wake up and head to a bakery. McCarthy bought the Cadott Bakery two years ago after working in the bakery at Festival Foods in Eau Claire and deciding she wanted to set out on her own. Dan Schmitt, a longtime owner of the bakery, still comes in to help McCarthy on occasion, she said.

“I love that it’s in a small town,” McCarthy said. “People are so friendly and so appreciative of the bakery still existing.

“I’m up front as much as I can be, so I’ve built a good rapport with the customers. They want to know who they are supporting.”

McCarthy came in to work with the previous bakery owner while she was in the process of buying the bakery, which helped give her an idea of what she wanted to do to make the bakery her own.

“The customers are very thankful to have a real bakery,” McCarthy said. “I was able to get customers excited about the change before I even took over, which was a huge benefit to me.”

After taking over, McCarthy added artisan breads, which can take three days from ingredients to the shelf.

“It’s a long process, but people have really enjoyed it,” McCarthy said. “It’s a labor of love.”

In addition to the doughnuts and breads, the bakery also offers buns, cakes and cupcakes and occasionally pies and biscotti.

“My standard of quality and consistency and customer service is pretty high,” McCarthy said. “I’m not going to serve something I’m not proud of.”

Cadott has a population of just more than 1,400 people, but McCarthy said she has brought in nearly 200 people in a single day and averages about 100 people every day. She said customers come from Chippewa Falls, Ladysmith and other surrounding communities because there are so few small bakeries around.

“It’s crazy to think we can get that many people through here in a town this size,” she said. “We probably go through more than 300 doughnuts a day.”

McCarthy said she has been dealing with some health issues, so she now has the bakery listed for sale. She recently had cortisone shots in her shoulders and wrist, which helped relieve some pain, and she didn’t want customers to worry about the future of the bakery.

“I can grab a doughnut without dropping it now,” McCarthy said. “I’m not in any hurry to sell, and I’ll keep doing it as long as I can.

“Ideally, I’d find a young family who wanted to take over. I really don’t want this to be a dying art form.”

The Cadott Bakery, 224 N. Main St., Cadott, is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fridays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon.

For more information, visit www.cadottbakery.com or call 715-289-4288.