John Muzio owned and operated the Sonora Bakery from 1919 until 1948. He originally started with partners, but became the sole owner in 1921. John had learned the bakery business from his father who owned Muzio’s Bakery in Stockton.
John hadn’t planned on going into the bakery business, but when visiting friends in the Jamestown area, he was astonished with the quality of the bread being accepted by the locals. He was told that the current owners, Volponi and Mills, weren’t too happy with their business and that it might be for sale. Needing a partner, he asked Louis Bacigalupi to join him in buying the bakery. He was later in partnership with George Machtig, but by 1921 realized he wanted to be the sole owner.
On Dec. 8, 1920, he married Irene Braghetta in Stockton. They lived upstairs above the Sonora Bakery for many years, later buying a home on Bradford Avenue. The bakery was located at 59 South Washington Street, which until recently housed the Banyan Tree store.
The Sonora Bakery was known for its quality products. In 1929, Muzio purchased an automatic doughnut maker. According to the Union Democrat of April 6, the machine did everything but eat the doughnut. It could produce up to 40 dozen doughnuts an hour. His son, John Jr., remembered that the smell of the doughnuts went down Washington Street and people were lined up to buy them.
Long hours were needed to operate the bakery and when John suffered a heart attack in 1948, he realized it was time to sell.
When he left the bakery he became secretary of the Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce, a position he held until his death 1972.
Patricia Perry is the historian for the City of Sonora.