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Bakeries in Rockville Centre shift selling methods this spring season

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Polka Dot Pound Cake is offering plenty of festive baked goods, including bunny cookies for Easter and flourless bread for Passover.
Polka Dot Pound Cake is offering plenty of festive baked goods, including bunny cookies for Easter and flourless bread for Passover.
Courtesy Polka Dot Pound Cake

Rockville Centre bakeries are adapting to what’s become an unusual spring holiday season.

Due to coronavirus concerns, Front Street Bakery has closed until further notice. The shop notified customers via its social media pages on March 21, noting they want to keep everyone safe and healthy, and will be monitoring the situation to decide when to reopen. Before closing, the shop was letting in only eight customers at a time.

However, several other bakeries in the village are open, while taking extra precautions and adjusting their means of doing business. This includes offering curbside pickup, limiting hours and staff and changing menus.

At Polka Dot Pound Cake, the morning rush for coffee happens closer to 9 a.m. than 7 a.m. now, said owner Lisa Umansky. Therefore, she’s starting to focus on her to-go lunch menu.

As far as Easter and Passover goes, “it’s definitely sneaking up on us,” she said, “because we’ve been preoccupied with all that’s going on.

“Now we’re busy thinking of new products and new ways to sell what we have.”

Most of the shop’s orders are coming in through phone calls, Umansky said. She said that all holiday orders, including pastries, cookie decorating kits and her new tea party-in-a-box, can be ordered ahead and picked up curbside.

Over at Flour Shoppe Café, owner Sean O’Donnell has had to cut staff and adjust hours to accommodate for new needs in the community. Instead of closing at 4 p.m., the shop now stays open until 5:30 p.m. to sell pre-made dinners.

Luckily, O’Donnell is also the head chef and baker, so he can take on the tasks of workers he’s had to let go, he said. At the same time, he’s had to stop making some of the more intricate bakery items that require more preparation.

The shop also offers curbside pickup and an online ordering system that gives customers 15 percent off their order.

“We’re appreciative of support of Rockville Centre and surrounding towns to keep our doors open,” O’Donnell said. “As long as people continue to get takeout, I have no doubt we‘re going to power through and won't have to shut our doors.”

Sugarberry has seen a large spike in its delivery orders through Grub Hub and Door Dash — about 50 per day, said owner Peter Kambitsis. Since many families and friends can’t celebrate birthdays together, he explained, they are sending birthday cakes to loved ones’ houses as a surprise.

Though business isn’t what it used to be, they’re plugging along with this shift toward deliveries. He encouraged customers to pre-order for the holidays.

“People want to eat, people want their sweets, people want their coffee,” Kambitsis said. “People still have birthdays. We gotta celebrate the birthdays, and Easter is coming. Don’t lose the faith.”