Chain of North Shore bakeries closes permanently - and unexpectedly

Chain of North Shore bakeries closes permanently - and unexpectedly

LYNN, Mass. — With the holidays just weeks away, employees of a popular North Shore bakery suddenly learn they are out of a job. After more than 25 years in business, D'Amici's abruptly closed all four of its locations hours before opening time Monday.

At the original location on Eastern Ave. in Lynn, the cases are stocked but the doors are deadbolted. If you were to drive by, you could mistake the North Shore staple as still being in business. A handwritten note in the front door is the only clear sign it's closed.

The original D'Amici's bakery in Lynn has been a staple since opening in 1993, later adding three locations in Lynn, Reading and Melrose, and just weeks before the holidays, a favorite spot for pastries and baked goods is gone.

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Just two years ago, the original owners sold, and several past and present employees said it didn't take long to see things going downhill.

"It's so sad," said Taylor Dipietro, a former employee, recalling what it was like when she first started working there.

Mackenzie Coppinger, who was working at D'Amici's up until last week, says employees at all four locations got the rude awakening via text just hours before opening time. "I got the text at like 4:10 this morning and woke up to phone calls from my friend's crying [and] having a meltdown," Coppinger said. Her boyfriend and mother also work for D'Amici's.

"I think it's awful because a lot of families depend on this job," she said, "now, all of a sudden, it's abruptly closed, which is insane."

In a Facebook post, D'Amici's owner claimed she had no other choice, writing in part, "As soon as we took over the business, we discovered things had been hidden from us. These issues condemned us as soon as we took over."

Joe Torretta, the former owner, who sold it in 2017 after 24 years, said his family is not to blame for the failure of the business.

"It was devastating because some of these people have been with us 18 years," said Torretta. "Sales have plummeted, from what I understand, from the time they took over. Their perception of what was good management and what actually was good management were not the same."

The bakery is still in the process of filing for bankruptcy. The owner says, at the moment, she doesn't know if she'll be able to issue refunds for preorders and gift certificates.

Torretta says he made a deal with the current owner to help in the transition following the sale and said they did not take advantage of it.

"Part of the deal [was] I would stay on for a year on request," Torretta said. "I would come in and help them out, [and I] stayed around for a month and a half once Christmas was over. They could call me in for consulting or problems they might have. They really didn't take any advantage of that.

"The first Thanksgiving came around [and] I was shocked to not have a call to go through Thanksgiving and make it the most profitable possible since I had gone through 24 of them in my life."