By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A beloved North Philadelphia bakery will re-open Tuesday, fourteen months after catastrophe caused it to close its doors.
Denise’s Bakery- at 22nd and Indiana is literally the sweetest spot in North Philly.
“We do everything from scratch and we use only the best ingredients,” says Denise Gause, who opened the bakery 24 years ago after being laid off from her corporate job. She took her severance pay and bought the building. And slowly, but surely, she build a following that is unparalleled.
“We make it like grandmother used to make it,” says Gause, “but we didn’t know it would take off like it has.”
Denise learned the value of love and loyalty March of last year when an unexplained fire ripped through the bakery.
“All the windows were broken, everything was destroyed,” says Gause, who thought her baking days would end. “We thought- well, that’s it.”
But within hours, community support began pouring in and grew into a flood with hundreds and hundreds of Facebook posts, emails and calls. Gause says it was that support that gave and her staff of 26 the strength and patience to rebuild.
“We decided that we have to go back,” she says, “we couldn’t not rebuild.”
Good insurance meant Gause could pay her employees to stay with her while they rebuild the entire shop. Fourteen months later, with 23 members of the original staff, Denise’s Bakery is ready to re-open with a new building, more shop space and a few surprises.
“There are going to be some new things,” says Gause, “but I’m not revealing that right now.”
The faithful menu of pound cake, pies, brownies, donuts and cookies will be there, as well as some love.
“I just want to hug people,” she says, “I want to feel their love and for them to feel our love– and say thank you for being so loyal.”