In 1991, Joe Gifolo and his wife, Judy, bought the Saccente and Sons bakery in New Hyde Park on Hillside Avenue. This past weekend, the business, now the Gourmet Bake Shop, celebrated its 30th anniversary.
“I thought New Hyde Park was a nice village with a hometown feel,” Gifolo said in an interview. “I felt that, and still do, it was a great opportunity.”
The establishment originally opened in the 1940s. After Gifolo, from Massapequa, bought the business, the family expanded services, particularly cakes, while also providing sweets, savories and even dog treats.
“We cannot forget our little furry friends,” said Gifolo regarding the idea his wife had. “I haven’t had a dog complain yet.”
Gifolo has been working in bakeries a large part of his life, starting when he was a teenager in Brooklyn.
It is an industry that allows Gifolo to express himself through his products, make customers happy and reinvent, or keep, his family traditions.
“I like the creativity of making products, things that taste good that people are satisfied with,” he said. “I like to stick to old-school tradition, but some family recipes come out around the holidays.”
Gourmet Bake Shop’s 30th anniversary comes after what Gifolo described as the worst stretch he has had owning the business, during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a business predicated on serving social gatherings, the bakery, like many other businesses, struggled.
Gifolo said the store had to limit hours and production during the height of restrictions but has gone back to normal since vaccines have been rolled out.
Looking at the last three decades, Gifolo said he doesn’t know about another 30 years, but nonetheless loves what the future holds.
“It’s been a great experience. It really went quick,” Gifolo said. “I’m looking forward to serving the community.”