By Patrick Kernan, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader
WILKES-BARRE — AmberDonia Bakery officially opened the doors to its Wilkes-Barre location Tuesday morning, and, depending on how you count it, it’s a grand opening either two or 10 years in the making.
Owner Butch Sacipi said the store, which now joins the Kingston location as the second location, has been a long time coming, and is the result of a lot of hard work and prayer.
“I pray every night, asking for my stores to be a success,” he said.
But, he suggested, he might have prayed too hard, as the Kingston store became such a runaway success, that he had no time to work on remodeling the Wilkes-Barre location, located at the corner of Northampton and Washington streets in downtown Wilkes-Barre.
One thing led to another, and the remodeling process took the better part of two years.
“There was big anticipation,” Sacipi said. “People have been knocking on the door for the past two years.”
That anticipation seems to have paid off, though, as the bakery was packed with happy customers around lunchtime on Tuesday.
As of right now, AmberDonia is specializing in Old World style pastries, the kind Sacipi said you would otherwise only be able to get in Italian bakeries in New York City and Philadelphia. The shop is also selling coffee and other beverages to either warm your heart or cool you off on the hot summer days.
“Why would you drive two hours… and spend about $500 overall, when you can just drive five minutes here?” he asked.
Starting in September, the shop will begin selling traditional, Neapolitan-style pizza, with the majority of the ingredients being shipped directly from Naples to make the pizzas as authentic as possible.
“In Italy, it’s a religion to them,” he said.
Sacipi said the pizza is still forthcoming because he wants to stagger what the shop sells so it wouldn’t be crushed with customers immediately. He said the most important thing is to foster a community of people who gather at the shop.
“It’s not about selling,” he said. “It’s about building a community.”
Part of that community is the Sacipi family itself, which Sacipi said is reflected in the logo of the bakery. Two lions — which represent Saccipi and his wife, Aida — gaze at each other, with the female lion clearly leading the male.
“I’ve been treading behind her,” he said of his wife. “My wife is the core of all this.”
The store’s name reflects the couple’s two daughters, Amberly and Cedonia, while a sun pattern — a pun on the word “son” — represents their son, Thorin.
Sacipi said that since he and his wife first moved to the area from New York City, he longed to have a store in downtown Wilkes-Barre. He said he’s experimented with stores in both the Hazleton and Scranton areas, but Wilkes-Barre’s central location between the two other cities is advantageous.
“Now my friends from both Hazleton and Scranton can come here,” he said, which is something for which he’s been hoping for a decade now.
Sacipi’s wife, Aida, said she’s glad they were able to get the store open.
“It’s been a long way coming,” he said. “We’re blessed enough that the community does support us.”