It’s been 34 years since she’s lived in Trenton, but in her memory, Vanessa Ritchie can still smell a Sunday afternoon at Italian Peoples Bakery and Deli.
“We used to go just about every Sunday after church. It was like a ritual,” Ritchie said. “And it smelled so good.”
These days, Ritchie lives in Hazard, Ky., and it’s safe to say her Sunday routine has changed. There is no authentic Italian bakery near her home.
When it comes to nostalgia for baked goods from Italian Peoples, Ritchie is not alone. Carmen Guagliardo, co-owner and president of the bakery, said people have been requesting the option to place long-distance orders on the bakery’s Facebook page.
On June 3, the bakery answered those requests with a post on Facebook, which announced that customers will be able to place orders by telephone and have the baked goods shipped to them.
The post received 26 comments from enthusiastic customers across the country, from Chicago to Puerto Rico.
One of those replies was from Kathy Yeager, another former Trenton resident who has since moved to another state. Yeager’s nephew, Joe Korchick and his mother, Margie are part owners of the bakery, Yeager said.
Yeager’s memories of Italian Peoples, like Ritchie’s, are flooded with the aroma of the bakery’s fresh foods.
She remembers being drawn by the smell of rolls baking in the early morning hours.
“It’s like a magnet, you had to go,” she said.
Yeager has lived in Charlotte, N.C. for 22 years, and has relied on visiting relatives to bring the baked goods she has missed.
Yeager said that she has spoken with several people in North Carolina who were originally from the tri-state area, and that everyone knows Italian Peoples Bakery.
“I wish they had one down here because everything they make is the most excellent stuff,” Yeager said.
Her wish list of things to order includes half-torpedo rolls, kaiser rolls and cannolis.
The bakery packages the items, which are delivered by UPS, Guagliardo said. Most products are shipped fresh. Any items requiring refrigeration, such as cannolis, are shipped with dry ice, he said.
Guagliardo said that Italian Peoples Bakery is currently accepting orders and there are no real restrictions on what or where the bakery can ship.
Although the products will not arrive quite as quickly by truck, Guagliardo said the bakery can provide instructions on how to optimize the taste of the rolls when customers receive them.
So far, the feedback has been mostly positive, and customers have been happy to enjoy the treats that they’re missed, Guagliardo said.
“I’m really excited because I live in a very rural area and we don’t have any bakery. The only bakery we have is WalMart,” Ritchie said.