By Leah Weissman

Pilot staff writer

Two days after Delaney's Bakery closed Jan. 19, Mary Jo Delaney began her new position as cake decorator at Ray's Food Place - and her customers have been thrilled.

andquot;A lot of our regulars from the bakery stop in and say 'Hi,'andquot; Delaney said.

andquot;I had heard around Christmas time that the Ray's cake decorator had quit. My husband and I thought of closing the bakery, so I agonized over the decision, and eventually went and got an application at Ray's.andquot;

As new cake decorator, Delaney said she can focus entirely on the artistic aspect of baking.

andquot;It's really wonderful because I get to do the creative end of it and not have the stress of owning a business,andquot; she said. andquot;I do miss the bakery, but this is working out great, too.andquot;

Noel Hanna, director of bakeries and delis for Candamp;K Markets, said Ray's Food Place jumped at the chance to include Delaney on their team andquot;to hold on to the local aspect and keep a little bit of the Delaney bakery here in the Brookings area.andquot;

Along with attracting new and old customers, Delaney said she also has future plans for Ray's bakery - including adding some more upscale food items.

andquot;The customer service, the products ... we're going to try to hold onto those things that the bakery upheld,andquot; Delaney said.