It felt like a family reunion at Luigi Bakery on the final day of business for the family-run shop.
Peter and Paula Pollio iced their last wedding cake for Rossland’s Tyson and Laura Frank Saturday, all while serving their customers who popped in for a final treat or to say goodbye with a hug or sendoff in the couple’s memory book.
The East Trail business was started by the late Luigi Pollio 25 years ago, when he bought the building from City Bakery.
Still following Luigi’s recipes over the years, the shop won customers over with its glazed donuts, cupcakes, bread and of course, its cornetti – an Italian pastry.
“I’m very sorry to see him leave,” said Ivo Toffolo, a customer who frequented the shop over the years. “Whatever he’s got, I buy. The cornetti? You can’t beat them.”
Though a difficult choice, the couple decided it was time to close shop and start their next chapter, which includes moving to Prince Edward Island to work less and dip into Peter’s passion for oil painting.
“I’ve been snively all week and I lost it a couple times with some of my special customers but for the most part, I’ve been pretty much looking forward to the next adventure,” said Paula.
“I’ve had months of up and down and emotional roller coaster and ‘are we doing the right thing?’
“But it’s the right thing, it’s the right time.”
For Peter, the change will be refreshing but odd for the man who grew up in the bakery with his dad teaching him everything he knew. Sleeping in past 4 a.m., will also be an adjustment for the early riser.
The greatest thrill, he said, has been witnessing children grow up from across the counter and later seeing them bring their young ones in for a jelly-filled donut.
“I kind of had to come out of my shell,” he laughed. “I was a little reserved and introverted, but now I could sell you cars if you wanted.”
When Paula first moved to the area to be with Peter, she knew no one but her in-laws but it didn’t take long to build friendships.
“It’s been a wonderful place to raise my children, a wonderful place to live, and I’m going to miss everything about it,” she said.
“I just want to say, thank you to all the people who supported us over the years and that I’m going to miss them very much.”