Giovanni's Owner Hangs Up His Apron
After nearly 20 years in business, Giovanni Evola has decided to close his well-known St. Clair Shores bakery.
For nearly two decades Giovanni Bakery has been a destination for breads, pastries, cakes and cannolis.
But after years of getting up at 3:30 a.m., working nearly non-stop on the days leading up to Christmas, and a experiencing a drop in business after neighboring Manzella's closed, it was time for Giovanni Evola to close.
"It is a tough decision, but I had to do it," said Evola, 53, who has lived in the United States for nearly 39 years and often donated to local charitable projects. "The customers have been beautiful. The community is great."
The closure of Giovanni Bakery is at least the third well-known, family owned store to close this year in St. Clair Shores. Neighboring Manzella's Fruit Market closed in July, and in March, Giglio's closed.
"When Manzella's closed, 25 percent our business went down," Evola added. "The cost of doing business is very expensive."
Owners of both Manzella's and Giglio's declined to be interviewed when their stores closed. But Manzella's is currently listed for sale on a real estate website, and the owners are being sued in Macomb Circuit Court by creditors.
According to the M. Shapiro Development Co. listing, the vacant 21,500-square-foot former fruit market, the occupied Shores Car Care and the building that housed Giovanni Bakery, are all currently for sale under a court appointed receivership.
Evola stated that he considered purchasing his building, but he was told he had to buy all three buildings.
Facing these issues Evola, who was planning on closing in two years, made the difficult decision to close his bakery this past Sunday.
"It has been a good ride," he said sentimentally. "If I could do it all over again, I would."
In the coming days, he will prepare to transition into his new career of selling bakery equipment. And foodies will be able to find him again in the future. Evola is planning to sell fusion olive oil at local farmers markets.
"It will be the best olive oil money can buy," he proudly said.
But after spending nearly two decades in a community, and becoming part of the lives of so many customers celebrations, saying good bye has been difficult.
"I am going to miss all these people," he said.