Ellicott City bakery closes as sales volume loses its leaven

April 21, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Leidig's, a popular county bakery for nearly a half-century, closed its Ellicott City store Sunday because of financial problems, said company President Dan D'Alonzo.

A 24 percent drop in sales over the past three months, high rent and increased production costs forced the closing of the Main Street store, he said, adding that it was a difficult decision.

"I'm 53 years old, I've been in business since I was 18; I didn't know how to handle it," Mr. D'Alonzo said.

"My main concern was the customers; I didn't want them to think I just walked away," he said.

Mr. D'Alonzo said he baked until closing Sunday, making sure all his orders were filled. He said he hopes to reopen the bakery at another Ellicott City location.

Leidig's had been experiencing financial problems for the past year.

In June, the bakery filed for bankruptcy protection and closed its Columbia store in the Long Reach Village Center.

Mr. D'Alonzo said that sales were improving until January, when it seemed that every weekend brought bad weather. Last month's blizzard forced the bakery to close for five days.

"The weekends are our bread and butter," Mr. D'Alonzo said.

In addition to financial difficulties, the parking problem in historic Ellicott City also kept customers away, Mr. D'Alonzo said.

"Financially we didn't have deep pockets," Mr. D'Alonzo said. "We weren't in a position to sustain the loss in [sales] volume."

Besides his wife, Mary, and his son, Dan D'Alonzo Jr., the other five employees at the bakery were part time.

Mr. D'Alonzo and a partner bought the bakery in 1988 from John and Linda Fisher, who had owned it since 1981.

When he took over the shop, Mr. D'Alonzo made it a priority to bring back the original doughnut recipes used by Norman Leidig.

Leidig's has been selling sweets to county residents since 1947 when Norman Leidig opened his original shop on Main Street. A few years later, he moved the bakery down the street where it remained until it closed last week.

The bakery was rebuilt after it was destroyed in the Main Street fire of 1984.

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