PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — To some, Termini Brothers Bakery is as Philadelphia as a cheesesteak.
“Termini’s is what family is all about and that’s what the holidays mean to me,” said one man who stood in line since 1 a.m. on Sunday.
As early as midnight on Christmas Eve a line starts forming outside of the flagship bakery in South Philadelphia.
And when the clock strikes 6 a.m., Vincent Termini Sr. opens the doors and greets his guests.
For Mike DeFrancesco, this has been an annual event for more than 50 years.
“The tradition continues with my son, Mark, and my grandson, Luca,” DeFransesco said.
To those who come here, this is more than a neighborhood bakery – it’s home.
“This place is family from the employees to the people you stand in line with.”
That’s what the family is so passionate about.
“This is what it’s all about. It’s not about money or any of that. It’s about these customers continuing their tradition,” said Joey Termini.
That’s exactly what Victoria Babson felt compelled to do after losing her family member, Frank Talese, who loved this tradition and passed away last week.
“Unfortunately, he had been suffering from cancer for about a year,” Babson said. “My sister-in-law had the idea to bring his picture with us this year, so I think that’s really special.”
Others have created lasting friendships simply by meeting here year after year.
“I met this guy, Joey, over ten years ago — and every year, we come here and make it a point to meet up here at Termini’s.”
These are stories as sweet as the treats they serve, says 13-year-old John Romano, who may one day take over the family business.
“I’m happy to see that everyone here can be part of my family tradition and my family bakery that’s been around for almost 100 years,” Romano said.