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Local Bakeries, Markets Fill Void Left By Business Closures

Manzella's, Giglio's and Giovanni's may be gone, but there are other markets and bakeries in St. Clair Shores to frequent.

Sadly, sometimes a business must shutter its doors. Reasons vary, but ultimately it means an empty building or storefront, a loss of jobs and revenue. 

In 2011, three well-known family-owned stores closed -- , neighboring , and Market. Bad news, without a doubt, since all three businesses had been around for decades. 

The good news is, for the customer who prefers to shop close to home, a few local stalwarts remain.

Often your local bakery makes fresh bread daily -- the owners getting up in the wee hours of the morning to make the day's goods. That's the case for Hodell's Cake Shop and Harper Bakery

Hodell's Cake Shop

Hodell's has been in business for 55 years, starting in Detroit, but they moved to their Harper (just north of 13 Mile) location 17 years ago, where they now have more room and more parking.

Doug Hodell is now the owner, taking over entirely once his father Dennis retired. Sadly, he passed away, last year.

The storefront is filled with display cakes, whetting a customer's appetite for sweets, but inside there's much more. Cannolis, cakes (both ready to purchase and ready to order, made with their signature butter-cream frosting), donuts, coffee cakes, pastries, cookies and other treats entice shoppers. If you're looking for a traditional sweet, consider the "Sleeping Beauties," which are similar to the classic Bumpy Cakes.

Hodell comes in at 2:30 each morning to start baking all the goodies. (The only thing they don't bake are the breads, which come from Sweetheart Bakery in Warren.)

Hodell also likes to try and give back to the community. Whatever doesn't sell gets donated to Nativity Church in Detroit, and he also likes to lend his talents to fundraisers.

Hodell's Cake Shop is located at 31387 Harper. Store hours are 7 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday. Call 586-294-1100 to learn more. Also check them out on Facebook

Harper Bakery

A bit south along the drag is another local shop, the Harper Bakery, just a few blocks north of 10 Mile.

Husband and wife Ted and Goldie Zdravkovski have owned the store since 1981, though it's been open more than 50 years.

The shop is a multi-tasker, as the Zdravkovskis sell a few grocery items -- milk, juice, flour, paper plates and similar grocery items -- but the real enticement is the bakery part of the shop. As soon as one walks in the door they'll see cases full of baked goods -- the work of the mister.

He comes in at 3 each morning to bake breads, cannolis, cookies (from classic chocolate chip to traditional Italian treats). He also makes cakes, danishes, pies (full-size, miniature, and sugar-free) and a whole lot more. They even sell pasties -- beef, chicken and Spanish (with cheese and eggs) -- as well as submarines, and make pizza to order. 

Harper Bakery is located at 25600 Harper, and is open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Call 586-775-4330 to learn more. 

Village Market

Since the closures of Manzellas', Giovanni's and Giglio's, general manager Jerry Monterosso says they've seen no big uptick in customers.

"We've shared customers for years," he says. Presumably, some for decades, since Village Market has been in the same location for 63 years.

Now they've just made some tweaks to accommodate customers' wants and needs, including adding more Italian products -- lunch meats and special cuts of meat, for example -- as a result.

He says they also have a new Italian sausage recipe, and they now sell lamb and veal, since people used to get that at Manzella's. They also have grown their produce section as well as their deli, but otherwise it's business as usual. Customers still come in for essentials and their signature nacho cheese dip, and shop the big variety of prepared foods, from more than 20 salads to hot and cold items, all at reasonable prices.

That some people think a smaller business charges bigger prices, Monterosso disputes that. "We're small with competitive prices," he says, and they always try to offer good sales. 

Village Market is located at 28510 Harper, and is open daily 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. To learn more, call 586-771-1187 or visit their website at www.guastellosvillagemkt.com, to learn about weekly specials and more. 

Nino Salvaggio

Nino Salvaggio is another survivor -- and has thrived -- in the area. The St. Clair Shores store is the first of the three Ninos to be erected, in 1979. The other stores are located in Clinton Township and in Troy.

Joe Santoro, senior buyer for Nino's, says they're seeing more customers lately, but it's hard to pin down an exact number. They've added a few more products -- deli meats and some other Italian goods -- but there's been no dramatic change in the shop's aisles. They still sell a wide variety of international items, staples and specialty items, produce, flowers, meats, cheeses, sweets and breads, wine, and more.

When the other businesses closed, new customers came in asking about products and Santoro says they tried to accommodate. "If we don't have it, we can get it."

A customer can either come in and ask a manager about ordering a specific product, or you can visit the website and make a request. Either way would work, Santoro says. 

Nino Salvaggio is located at 27900 Harper, and is open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Sundays. Call 586-778-3650 or visit them on-line at ninosalvaggio.​com to learn more.

Warren Wilson August 22, 2012 at 03:02 AM
I believe Salvaggio's opened before 1979. I remember camping out in my parent's backyard, hiding behind Nino's to not get caught for curfew while still in school, and I graduated in 1979.
Jimmy August 22, 2012 at 12:54 PM
And there was a reason you omitted Bommarito Bakery from this story?
DJG August 22, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Gigilios was the biggest shame. I feel like I'm walking into a dirty dump @ Village...sorry. The Village Mkt. in Grosse Pointe is much, much nicer and have better quality products. What about Bommarito's Bakery?
minnie2525 August 22, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Just moved to St. Clair Shores. Not impressed by Village Market. Rather shop at Kroger for everything! Nino's is too high in price.
DJG August 23, 2012 at 10:17 AM
Minnie, go to Value Village @ 16 and Harper for the big grocery days. Much cheaper than Kroger. If you want specialty items..breads, meats, cheeses, Nino's is it for SCS. When you have time, stop by Village Market in Grosse Pointe off Mack. Just moving here...you missed out on Giglios. I still am friends with one of their old butchers and his wife. That was THE place for your steaks, chops, etc. It was not the cheapest, but when I buy meat, I don't want the cheapest.
Chuck Hall September 19, 2012 at 01:51 PM
I go to Bommaritos for their canolies,pizza,breads,wines and seasonings. They have been a staple on located at 8 1/2 & Greater Mack Ave for years. If your going to mention the word bakery in the same article as survivors, then you must count these fine people in.

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