SUPPLY – When a business like Scialo Bros. Bakery closes, it’s not just the owners and staff who suffer a loss. It is felt by all who depended on them for Christmas cookie trays, St. Joseph’s donuts, and trifle birthday cakes.
Scialos, which was opened by brothers in 1916 and run by sisters since 1993, is gone, owner Carol Gaeta said. The building housing the Federal Hill Italian bakery is up for sale, he said.
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Gaeta is still mourning her sister and co-owner Lois Ellis, who died of cancer in August. Now he mourns the bakery he hoped would be sold to a baker and continue to operate.
It was closed on March 1
Since then, the Scialos oven expert has been to the bakery every two days to keep the oven on and running. Antique ovens require a multi-step process to ignite them. They collapse if they go out, he said.
“Two weeks ago I told Anthony Andreozzi to stop, and he cried,” Gaeta said from her home. He understood the meaning that Scialos would not reopen.
Gaeta said closing Scialos was the hardest decision he ever had to make.
“We were getting ready for St. Joseph’s Day and we had gallons and gallons of vanilla ready to go. Gallons that cost $ 300 each,” he said.
But fears of making her family or staff ill made her decide it was safer to close the bakery. He didn’t think he would report his retirement at the time, which he described as one of many ruined by COVID-19.
His father, Luigi, opened the bakery with his brother Gaetano when they emigrated from Italy in 1916. Luigi ran the bakery after his brother returned to Italy in 1925. Gaeta and Ellis took over when their father died aged 103.
Gaeta was the baker and worked on site while Ellis, a teacher, took care of all the paperwork including taxes, paychecks and the like. They were the perfect team, he said.
The 11,500-square-foot building at 249-257 Atwells Ave. was listed with MG Commercial for $ 1,195,000. It includes Scialos and two three-bedroom rental units on the upper floors and the space occupied by the art gallery next to the bakery.
Rick Simone, executive director of the Federal Hill Commerce Association, said Bill DiStephano Jr., the principal of Omni Group, the developers who currently own 11 acres on Federal Hill, have agreed to buy the property.
Gaeta said there are no signed buy and sell agreements.
She was very excited when she talked about her staff and clients. Both were loved by Gaeta and have been part of her life since she was a child growing up in the apartment above the restaurant.
“Scialos is too big for bakers today,” he said. It includes two back rooms and a storage room on the second floor.
“Other bakers won’t do things like we did,” he said.
“I want to thank everyone for being our customers,” she said, choking back tears. “Millions of them.”
She talked about how she will miss her staff too, including Carlos Vallejos, the head baker for 20 years, and other longtime bakers Emmanuel “Wilson” Mejia and Marlon “Saul” Escobar-Ordonez and Noel Rivera, the dishwasher “le whose hands were always in the water, “he said.
He spoke of the Syrian immigrant Melineh “Melo” Hindoyan, who worked at the counter for 20 years with Nicole Pregoni, Andrea Gist and Samantha Caruso, hired by Gaeta at 14 and “has just graduated”.
They were all part of the family, he said. “I know people say it, but I mean it.”
“Are we making money? I don’t think so, “Gaeta said.
“It has always been a labor of love.
“We did it because we liked it.”
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