[caption id="attachment_217514" align="aligncenter" width="1200"] Richard and Dominic Serpe. | DBT PHOTO BY LUIGI CIUFFETELLII[/caption]
Founded: 1952Generations: ThreeEmployees: 47ELSMERE – The taste of the handmade doughnuts, steak rolls or dessert pastries has been sending customers back to Serpe & Sons Bakery for generations.It all started in 1952, when Domenico and Lucille Serpe established their small bakery in Wilmington on North Madison Street, producing bread and rolls, and later cakes, cinnamon buns, and tomato pie.By 1964, the bakery had outgrown its location and moved to its current Kirkwood Highway location in Elsmere. It serves a number of well-known local clients, like Casapulla’s, Capriotti’s, Attillio’s and Mrs. Robino’s.The bakery, which has seen sons Tony, Richie, Tommy and Dominic take ownership over the years, will celebrate its 70th anniversary next year.With that longevity has come continued growth, even seeing both wholesale and retail sales grow during the pandemic last year when they also added more than a dozen new employees. The addition of curbside service and GrubHub/DoorDash delivery has also given the bakery a new way to reach customers.“We have a unique operation in that everything is freshly made. When you come in the door, we want you to be pleased by the time you go out the door,” Richard Serpe said.Over the years, Serpe’s has contributed greatly to the St. Anthony’s Italian Festival in Wilmington, baking rolls and products for use in the many stalls. It also donates funds and products to subsidize the Italian Language Summer Camp for children ages 4 to 14, and several multicultural public service radio programs. It has routinely donated food to the Emmanuel Dining Room, Sunday Breakfast Mission, Salvation Army, and Little Sisters of the Poor, among others.“I think it came from my father and mother: Share what you have. We made a commitment to these charitable efforts because we have a product that nourishes them,” Richard said, noting that many groups say those in need may go without if not for the bakery’s generosity.That community support was reciprocated following a 2015 Christmas Eve fire that tore through the bakery. After 10 months of rebuilding, it reopened to thousands of awaiting customers.