Dec 22, 2011 Amanda Seef Uncategorized
A sign hanging among decades worth of wedding cake photos reads out the mantra of Fremont Bakery: “This is my work, my blessing, not my despair.”
“Our important job in this business was to satisfy as many people as we could,” said owner Tony Fallico, 78, of Manlius. The East Syracuse staple is closing shop Dec. 31 after nearly 51 years in business in central New York. Without any family members to take over the bakery’s daily operation, he has decided to retire and close the bakery.
“Today, mom and pop bakeries are out,” he said. “You have to go big.”
Customers have been trickling in for the last two weeks of business, declaring the pastries as the best in Syracuse. Others were in a self-proclaimed “donut depression,” sad to see the institution closing.
Fallico, who has been working in bakeries since he was 9, worked in Eastwood and helped with his brother’s bakery, Liberty Bakery, on Burnet Avenue. Fallico opened the Fremont Bakery in 1961. Originally in the Fremont area, the shop kept its name after moving to East Second Street in 1971 after a fire at their Route 290 and Butternut Drive location.
The bakery offers a variety of donuts, fresh breads and other pastries and cookies. The real selling point, however, are the cakes.
Fallico guesses he’s made more than 20,000 wedding cakes in the years since Fremont Bakery opened — but not all have been of the same variety.
He made national news with his daughter’s wedding cake in 1986. The cake was made of arches between two tables, allowing his daughter, Lauriette, and her husband, Michael Aiello, to stand beneath the cake. It served more than 4,000 — the leftover cake was donated to senior citizens.
“You have to remember, the wedding cake was a big part of the wedding back then,” he said.
The traditions and methods have changed when it comes to the cake business. Reality shows like “Cake Boss” and “Ace of Cakes” have changed the idea of traditional wedding cakes, he said.
“People who are doing those cakes are fresh out of art school,” he said.
Recent trends have had some interesting requests file into Fremont Bakery — customers have asked for tiers made of donuts or pies, and many brides have been more inclined to choose cupcakes over the traditional cake.
“We’re not trained for all of that,” Fallico said.
With all of the cakes made, Fallico has had many happy customers — his part in making their special day that much happier. He has an overflowing envelope of thank you cards, spilling across his office desk. More are put away in the upstairs of the bakery.
“I saved all of these,” he said. “How can you get rid of them? You can’t.”
Customers have submitted photos of their weddings, cakes as extravagant and beautiful as the wedding themselves. One wall is full of family wedding photos, including Fallico’s wedding with his bride, Pauline.
Fallico said taking the photos down and packing up the memorabilia from the years — including an extensive Pillsbury Doughboy collection, with a four-foot original styrofoam doughboy in the lobby — could take three or four months. There have been inquiries, but Fallico has no plans to sell the business.
“I don’t know what is going to happen,” he said. “If someone is interested in taking the name, if they do that, I want to make sure they follow my procedures.”
Many of the cakes have been memorialized in photos, like the Capitol building replica made for East Syracuse’s bicentennial, or a cake made for the 30th anniversary of the 174th Fighter Wing. Celebrities, politicians and community members, alike, Fallico said the people are who he will miss.
“I’ve met a lot of people who were part of my growing up in this business,” he said. “The people that I have met are my favorite part.”