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Big Screecher

A & J Bakery has been baking bread, serving the residents of Most Precious Blood Parish for decades, and was one of the community tragedies brought on by the recession.

“The best tasting bread” area residents would brag, even those moving away, far and near always came back to Brooklyn for their Sunday bread and especially for the Holidays. Oddly enough, last September owners Anthony and John did not put signs notifying their faithful customers that they were closing the long established bakery at 2841 Harway Avenue, nor that it had been sold to another baker who would reopen.

Anthony told just a few customers who regularly come before Mass to buy their bread about the bakery closing and then within an hour, whispers during the mass went like wildfire, with parishioners leaving Mass early, stampeding to get their last of their favorite bread. “It was like the lines we had for Christmas Eve,” said Anthony. They were completely sold out in an hour, disappointing later customers who regularly come for their Sunday bread.

With the closing of the sale of the store and building last September, Leo Galvo, the new owner of “Bread Plus,” spent thousands of dollars renovating the old fashioned favorite neighborhood bakery, even purchasing an Italian bread oven from Italy. During the nine months of renovations, the residents impatiently awaited the bakery opening, hoping beyond hope that Bread Plus would open for Thanksgiving. Leo Vento, a trustee of Most Precious Blood Church, said, “This is terrible, I’m living here over 50 years and this was the first Thanksgiving we didn’t have bread from our bakery.”

Unfortunately, there was no bread for the Christmas holidays or for New Year’s, or for any of the holidays of the New Year 2009. Residents saw the renovations being done, week after week and the bakery looked ready to open; hoping that soon they would be tasting the delicious breads that they were accustomed to and fed and raised their families.

The old customers knew of the quality Cannoli Plus packaged cakes and pastry that A& J Bakery sold; they were delicious and sold like hotcakes. Add to that, the terms of the sale required Tony the former owner to stay a month teaching the secrets of how A & J bakery made their famous breads. Now Breads Plus has been ready for months and cannot open until the Board of Health inspects it. Losing additional months of business, which unfortunately isn’t good for any business during these dreadful economic times. Angelo’s Royal Bakery, another long established neighborhood bakery, had succumbed to the recession, leaving the neighborhood breadless.

I lost 30 pounds since the bakery closed, and now fearing the harsh northern winds off Harway Avenue will topple me over, picked up the gauntlet to help new owner Leo Galvo open his Bread Plus Bakery and contacted local officials to help the new Bakery…before it literally runs out of bread (money). During the French Revolution, when Marie Antoinette was told that the people were starving and didn’t have bread to eat, she replied, …”Well let them eat cake!” A revolution was stirring in the neighborhood without bread, but the residents will now have both to eat, when Bread Plus was permitted to open on Wednesday June 24. Oops, here comes back those 30 pounds.

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