Staff photo by Allison Potter
Ragan Franklin stocks the case at the new Apple Annie’s location in The Forum on Tuesday, July 9.
The pastry cases of Apple Annie’s retail location survived the move down Military Cutoff Road to the Forum Shopping Center where the shelves are once again lined with everything from cinnamon twists and croissants to tiramisu, German chocolate layer cakes and strawberry rhubarb tarts.
Rob Cooley, who recently purchased Apple Annie’s in March, said the new retail location officially opened July 1 in time for the July Fourth holiday weekend. While the new location has not had a grand opening yet, Cooley said one was in the works for later this summer after the new motif has taken root.
“Once we prove this industrial retro concept, we will renovate our other store to match it because that location has had the same motif for around 20 years,” Cooley said. “Then we will do a full re-opening at both stores.”
The new location, next to the Bento Box, has polished concrete floors, wraparound pastry cases and seating for around 15 customers. Cooley has repurposed some of the bakery’s old equipment, like a solid wood baker’s table for a high top table.
An enhanced customer atmosphere was one of the goals for Cooley at the Forum location with free Wi-Fi and freshly brewed coffee made for Apple Annie’s by Java State Roastery in Hampstead. The two brews currently available are a Guatemalan bean breakfast blend and the FREaK (French Roast Ethiopian and Kenyan) dark blend.
While Cooley plans to add to Apple Annie’s amenities, the bakery products will remain unchanged because the entire team of bakers remained on staff when he purchased the company from the Longordo family, who opened the first Apple Annie’s in 1984.
“Those guys have been doing this for sometimes 15-25 years and they are really artists. The term baker is not giving them the credit they are due,” he said. “They don’t use canvas and paint; they use flour, water and sugar.”
Evidence of the Longordos’ legacy will live on in the Forum location in pictures of Frank Longordo with the cakes he made while starting his baking career in the United States Marine Corps in the 1940s and 1950s.
A longtime Apple Annie’s fan — the current head baker made Cooley’s going-to-West-Point cake when the Longordos owned Chester Bakery in New Jersey — Cooley said he couldn’t pass on the opportunity.
“It was just a phenomenal opportunity for me,” he said. “Apple Annie’s is iconic in Wilmington and one of those destination locations for locals and tourists.”
Plans to partner with more community organizations and neighboring businesses are in the works for Apple Annie’s, Cooley said, adding that the bakery recently made more than 300 cupcakes for Forum neighbor Spectrum Art and Jewelry’s 16th anniversary that raised around $1,600 for DREAMS of Wilmington.
Ultimately staying true to the original Apple Annie’s quality model will be the recipe for continued success, Cooley said.
“We are not going to compete against the Wal-Mart $2 pie or the $15,000 wedding cake; we know what we are,” he said. “We are a classic New York, Little Italy bakery.”