ROTTERDAM — Mastroianni Bread, a beloved Schenectady staple found on grocery store shelves throughout the Capital Region until the company behind the product declared bankruptcy and sold its recipes in 2016, is coming back home.
Scott Davenport, the owner of several Capital Region bakery businesses, including Schuyler Bakery in Watervliet and Futia’s Famous Dough, a pizza dough company that operates out of the Rotterdam Corporate Park, recently acquired the Mastroianni name and recipes and is planning to begin manufacturing the famous breads out of his Rotterdam headquarters by year-end.
“We saw an opportunity that hopefully can benefit everybody,” said the 42-year-old Davenport on Wednesday. “Hopefully we’ll be able to do Mastroianni proud.”
Mastroianni Bread has a long history in the Schenectady area that can be traced back to 1923, when Peter Mastroianni and his seven siblings opened Mastroianni Brothers Bakery in Schenectady. The breads were a fixture in stores throughout the region for years.
But the company fell on hard times in 2008, when Armond Mastroianni, the then-owner and president of the company, died.
Years of declining sales followed and the company officially closed its Rotterdam manufacturing facility in July of 2016, declaring bankruptcy a few months later in September that same year.
The Mastroianni Brothers Bakery assets, including the beloved recipes, were later sold to Pumilia’s Pizza Shells of Utica for $220,000, which continued to manufacture the bread in the central New York city and Ohio.
Davenport admitted he doesn’t have any nostalgic memories of Mastroianni bread like many in the region do. He moved to Rotterdam seven years ago and began purchasing businesses throughout upstate with his siblings, an interest, he said, he acquired from his father who worked as a food broker.
But he eventually learned about the Mastroianni name and its Schenectady roots about two years ago, through business acquaintances he met operating his pizza dough company.
After some back and forth over two years, Davenport was able to broker a deal to acquire the Mastroianni name and recipes and plans to begin manufacturing. Davenport declined to say how much he paid for the assets.
Davenport is in the process of acquiring the equipment necessary to begin manufacturing, an effort that the Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority will be assisting by providing $75,000.
“We thank Scott Davenport for his diligent efforts to bring Mastroianni Bread back home to Schenectady County,” Ray Gillen, Metroplex chairman, said in a statement. “So many of us have missed this item at our local grocery store and we are excited for the comeback of this great product.”
Davenport said he plans to start by manufacturing some of the more popular breads like the sliced Italian and seeded rye, as well as the steak and onion rolls, before introducing some of the more complicated recipes.
As far as where people can people buy the breads? Davenport said he’s working with a distributor that will ensure the product is in all the major grocery chains throughout the Capital Region.
“I feel a lot of responsibility to get it all right and to please all those people that grew up with this as the staple in their home,” he said.
This story was updated on Oct. 17 to identify Peter Mastroianni as the founder of Mastroianni Brothers Bakery.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChadGArnold.
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Categories: News, News, Rotterdam, Schenectady County