ELSMERE – Serpe & Sons Bakery, which began as a humble baker of breads and tomato pies and grew into a landmark bakery that provides a full array of doughnuts, pastries, cakes and Italian specialty items to generations of customers in two states, is celebrating its 70th anniversary.
Started by Domenico and Lucille Serpe, the business opened its doors on March 1, 1952, on North Madison Street in Wilmington. By 1964, the growing business had moved to its Elsmere location on Kirkwood Highway. It serves a number of well-known local clients, like Casapulla’s, Capriotti’s, Attillio’s, Yatz’s and Mrs. Robino’s.
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 bakery, where sons Tony, Richie, Tommy and Dominic have taken ownership over the years, will celebrate its milestone with several special events.
“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, Little Sisters of the Poor, and ARA Delco charity fundraisers 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.