Xavier Magazine

Grace Gottenbush

GRACE GOTTENBUSCH Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, 1989, Retired president, Servatti Pastry Shop, Cincinnati


Family Business | Gottenbusch comes from a long line of bakers and shop owners. In Germany, her great-grandfather was a baker and her grandfather had a pastry shop. Her German-born father started Servatti Pastry Shop in Cincinnati in 1963. Today there are nine stores in the Cincinnati area. Gottenbusch started working in the Hyde Park location at age 14.

Early Inclinations | “My father sent me to college and sent two of my brothers to Germany to learn the trade. My older brother and my younger brother went to the trade school in Germany and studied baking and pastry shop for three years in Muenster, my father’s hometown. In eighth grade, I knew I wanted to go to Xavier. I was the first female in my family to graduate from college.”

The Job | After she graduated from Xavier, Gottenbusch started off as the general manager at Servatti. She had to figure how much of a product to order for special events, study retail trends and project sales.

The Quirks | “There’s some difficulties in the fact that this is your family, and this is your baby brother and he’s yelling at you because your manager screwed up and cost him a lot of overtime. It’s really hard to take that ‘baby brother’ out of the equation. It’s the same way with my father. He’d tell me to go clean up my office. What, are you going to ground me into my office if I don’t? You have those kinds of quirks, but it’s really nice that everyone would always kick in and help.”

Early Retirement | Gottenbusch worked her way up to president, managing everything to do with the front-of-store operations such as customer service, sales training and marketing, until she retired last year. At 39, Gottenbusch had already put 25 years into the business.

Life After Servatti | “My new career is being a foster parent to four wonderful children and parent to my two teenagers,” she says. “I have been gone a year from the bakery and it still feels right. I don’t plan on another business, but I am involved in the stock market.”

Foster Care | Gottenbusch first became a foster parent 14 years ago, shortly after graduating from Xavier. “I just wanted some children in my life, and I thought this was a way to get a lot of experience with children—the house was too quiet,” she says. “I’ve adopted two (ages 16 and 14), and I’m in the process of adopting my 1-year old. And I’d adopt more in a minute if I had the ability.” Right now she has six children in the house, ages 16,14, 4, 2, 1 and a newborn.

The Rewards | “I like being home with my teenagers. Foster children deal with a lot. They have a lot of emotional and physical hardships that they have to go through that I wouldn’t have been able to handle at their age. This allows me to focus on them.”

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