About Jimmy The Baker
I was raised in a loving Italian family on Long Island, NY. As a teenager devoted to sports, I can remember teammates of mine dropping by and walking right past me to sit at the table with my mother and father who had them eating and laughing. There was one football party where so many kids showed up, I could not get into my own kitchen. My mother had one group peeling potatoes for her legendary French fries and my father had another group slicing Italian bread for his “Italian Combos”. Laughter was a key ingredient.
We grew up very middle class with my father going from working two jobs, standing on an unemployment line and eventually starting his own successful business. My mother was a fanatic about a clean home with food at its center. She cooked dinner every night and my brother, sister and I knew she would be watching as we took those first few bites. If she even sensed we weren’t reaching for seconds, we’d have to spend the better part of the meal assuring her we were loving what she prepared.
At 28 years old I was failing miserably on Wall St. I hated what I was doing, and my income had vanished. On a cold and rainy sleepless night, I went for a drive to try to figure out what to do for the rest of my life and I stopped in an all-night bagel store for a cup of tea. While watching the rain cascade down the store window I fought back the tears as I just could not believe I was a failure. I had energy, creativity and drive and I looked up to Heaven and asked for a sign. “Just show me” I remember saying out loud. Moments later a worker packing out the night’s deliveries stopped what he was doing and put a bagel on my table. “You like?”
In 1989 I would open The Daily Bagel in Yorktown Heights, NY. However, this was no typical bagel store as I had thought of a concept many years ago. As soon as I could ride a bike, my mother sent me to the bakery – where I would wait in line. I would then peddle over to the bagel store to wait on another line and often wondered why the two were never under one roof. With that memory in mind, I decided to combine a NY bagel store with a traditional bakery.
While doing my research I would meet eighth generation baker, Bennett Pakula of Pakula’s Bake Shop of Spring Valley, NY. He would teach me the love of scratch baking, which was a vanishing trade. At that time the large commercial suppliers had introduced instant cake mixes that made baking easier to the point where anyone who could measure water could become a baker. Club stores and supermarkets opened their own bakeries with instant mixes and frozen cookie dough. However, with that ease came sameness and lack of originality – but still the neighborhood bakery was disappearing like the rest of Main St. My goal was to keep the neighborhood bakery alive and with the help of CIA graduate Brian Farkos – one of the best cake bakers I’ve ever met – and Bennet I was able to launch The Daily Bagel.
The combination of scratch baking and my in-bred love to see people happy through food brought unbelievable success. But the lessons I learned in that first little bakery are what this site is all about. The most valued lessons learned in those years did not come from baking but in the store front. It was those face-to-face moments with customers that provided me with an appreciation of the absolute necessity to treat them like they were sitting at my own dinner table. I would come to know that, whatever their financial means, they all were experiencing life’s struggles. I began to see that their visit to my neighborhood bakery gave them a brief break from life’s battles. I could not have asked for a better counter staff who provided endless moments of smiles and laughter on both sides of the counter.
The business would grow to multiple stores and then to a small commercial bakery at the end of Front St. in Yorktown Heights, NY. But unbelievable success would be followed by unrelenting failures. A merger gone wrong with another commercial bakery would wipe out years of financial success and both the stores would succumb to the death of Main St. I began to rebuild the commercial bakery business, and in the middle of that climb I would be diagnosed with late stage colon cancer and be in for a major three-year fight. But, I would unexpectedly fall into an opportunity to appear on QVC. I was in the middle of my treatments when I was called to that first meeting with them. I intentionally wore an oversized shirt to hide the chemo pump strapped around my waist for fear of them finding out I had cancer.
It has been several years now since that day, and the wonderful thing about QVC is it made the whole country my neighborhood. The growth has been a blessing but finding this sleepy small commercial bakery for sale in the middle of rural Dutchess County was a Godsend. Sitting on Sprout Creek Ct. not far from Sprout Creek itself made naming it easy. Here, I get to create and experiment all the while surrounded by a devoted team of professionals who can only endure the emotional swings of their boss by fastening their seatbelts.
This website is an effort to make you feel even more at home. What I strive for is to be that same Neighborhood Bakery that gives you a break from life’s struggles. It should be a place that makes you smile when visiting and even truly enjoy what my bakers and I have baked for you. I promise satisfaction – notice all our emails are listed for your direct contact. I promise satisfaction, not just because it is good business, but because chances are, like my father, you work hard for your money and the decision to hand it over to this bakery is something I will never take for granted. Like my mother, I will not rest until you are reaching for seconds.