Northern Bakery Supply, a fixture in Watertown since 1973, will shut its doors at 465 Holly St. for the final time Friday, as food distributor Renzi Bros. Inc. has bought the companys inventory and customer contracts.
Northern Bakery Supply owner Melanie J. White said she is pleased the business will be in the hands of the Renzi family, whom she described as former friendly competitors for business in the region.
Were both locally owned companies that have stayed in two generations of families, and I wanted to keep the business local, she said, adding that her four employees have been offered jobs at Renzi, based at 90 Rail Drive in Watertown. Northern Bakery will turn over to Renzi about 200 contracts with clients based in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
Renzi distributes food to restaurants, grocery stores, schools and health-care facilities, and owns a fleet of 26 trucks that covers six states from Ohio to Maine.
In 1973, Mrs. Whites father, Carmelo Gorri, bought the small niche distributor of bakery products, then on Polk Street, from Joseph and Michael Chiappone, who started it in the 1950s. Mrs. White and her husband, Peter, bought the business from Mr. Gorri in 1986. Mr. White died last year.
The business, which the Whites moved to Holly Street, specialized in selling flour, sugar, chocolate chips and spices.
We made a good living here and served great people, Mrs. White said. Its the customers were going to miss the most. Ive heard so much positive feedback from them.
Mrs. White said that before she retires, she will work for Renzi to help the company make the transition.
This was a perfect opportunity for Melanie to get an exit strategy for her business, because her customer base is similar to ours, said John M. Renzi, co-owner of Renzi Bros. Their business portfolio folds into ours. Its bakery-driven, and she sells a lot of bakery goods to restaurants. For us, its a unique opportunity to keep the business local.
He added that the Renzi and White families have been friendly competitors over the years whove always held each other in high esteem.
We were competitors, but at the same time we had a lot of respect with the White family and they way they did business, Mr. Renzi said. Thats what were hoping to continue.