Pastry shop on the move
GREENWICH — Customers heading into DiMare Pastry Shop to order a cake or pie, pick up their favorite cookies or get the famous cannoli nachos are also spying a less-than-appetizing surprise: A large “FOR LEASE” sign in the front window.
But lovers of baked goods should not be too worried.
The shop is closing its doors after 42 years in the Riverside Commons Shopping Center on the Post Road, right off Exit 5 on Interstate 95. But it will stay open through the holiday and until mid-January — when a new Greenwich location should be ready. The lease is up on Feb. 1.
The DiMares, who will also continue to operate their Stamford location, are hoping to have the new Greenwich shop picked out by the end of the week.
“We’re not leaving, we’re just downsizing,” shop owner Sabrina DiMare said Tuesday. “We’re going to be in the local area. We have a couple options we’re looking at. It will be a drop store — which means everything will be made at our Stamford store and then we will bring the product to the other locations.”
That means less rent and less overhead, DiMare said. The staff from the Riverside location will be moving to the Stamford location at 12 Largo Drive South — so the same employees will be making the cakes, pies, pastries and other baked goods.
The shop is run by Sabrina DiMare and her sister, Maria. It was founded by their parents, Ugo and Bice, who are still involved in the business. Sabrina DiMare said the move was not an easy decision to make, but it was one they all decided on together as a family.
“We’ve been here 42 years — and the rent is just too much money so we’re going to downsize,” DiMare said. “My sister has six grandchildren, and I have two and two more coming. Our families are growing, and we work six to seven days a week. We’re getting a little tired, and the rent is crazy.”
The new location will “be closer than you think,” DiMare said. The change is emotional one for the family: There were a lot of tears when multiple generations of the family gathered Sunday at the shop for pictures.
“It’s a good thing, but it’s still sad because when I was 11, I would come here and I would sleep on the flour downstairs,” DiMare said. “All my childhood memories are here.”
The news is still reaching some of the shop’s customers. On Tuesday, Joe Incorvaia said he was “shocked” to see the sign. It’s a sign of how much the town has changed since he and his wife moved to Riverside more than 30 years ago, he said.
“It’s really disappointing,” Incorvaia said. “You see the massive commercialization of the Post Road and the loss of family businesses and it sort of strips the neighborhood of its character to some degree. It’s not the Riverside we moved to.”
There’s “no question” they will go either to the new Greenwich location or to the Stamford shop to enjoy the DiMare pastries, he said.
Customer Miki Cooperman of Greenwich found out about the move when she stopped in to order a custom-made cakes for her daughter’s birthday.
“It’s always been so convenient to come here, and you get such great personal attention,” Cooperman said. “They always do a great job.”
Cos Cob resident Leah Marmon stopped in briefly just to make sure the shop would be open through the holidays. She also orders pastries from the shop for Second Congregational Church’s concerts.
“I’ve been coming here for 35 years,” Marmon said. “Everyone is sad about this and hoping they can find a new place. This is a regular stop for people for coffee and danish and to get birthday cakes and holiday cakes — even wedding cakes. Anything you ask for, they couldn’t be nicer in making it however you want. ... People really consider this their go-to store.”
Town resident Charlie Figliuolo, who popped in for cream puffs, remembered that the shop was the Alpine Bakery before the DiMare family moved in their business.
“They’re the only ones in this area,” Figiuolo said. “I hope they find a new location close by. I love that this place is family operated. They’ve been here for so long, and it means a lot to have them here.”
Since making the announcement, DiMare said there has been an outpouring of love and support from the community. The family said they hope to serve the community for 42 more years — calling their customers “a big part of the DiMare family.”
“It’s overwhelming and very emotional,” DiMare said. “This bakery gives you such an adrenaline rush and buzz. We get customers coming in after they’ve been at CVS or Acme or Starbucks and there can be 20 people in the store at once buying a few items as an impulse. It creates such a buzz, and I’m going to miss that.”