NAUGATUCK — A Naugatuck man is bringing his baked goods home to the borough.
John Cummings is preparing to move Stonehouse Baked Goods from its current Wolcott location to the former Anna Donte Italian Restaurant, 384 North Main St., in Naugatuck.
Cummings said the classic look of the former restaurant drew him to it.
“If you walk in here and you have black and white tile on the floor, it looks like your classic old-style bakery,” Cummings said.
Cummings said the location set in the middle of a neighborhood is also attractive.
“Here it’s a community,” said Cummings, who plans to be open by the end of August. “Where the location is, you’re nestled into the heart of the town. We’re not downtown, but we’re right next to downtown.”
Cummings said he came to be a baker in a very “roundabout way.” He began his baking business after being injured at his job as a longshoreman.
“I ended up getting hurt. I had to have my neck fused, and I couldn’t go back to work. But while I was out healing I started tinkering around,” Cummings said.
Cummings still remembers the first cake he made for someone else.
“My wife asked me if I could make a cake for somebody at work,” Cummings said. “So, I went out, bought some fondant, and made a little Yankees cake.”
Cummings said people asked his wife where she bought the cake and more orders for cakes began coming in.
“It went from there to me saying, ‘Well, I have to phase into something.’ So I rented a kitchen in Glastonbury and started making cakes out of there about five years ago,” Cummings said.
His business began to grow to the point where, in 2013, he was able to open the store in Wolcott. Cummings said the Wolcott location isn’t receiving the foot-traffic he had hoped for when he first opened it up.
“So we saw [the former restaurant] open up,” Cummings said. “Between being from Naugatuck, having people going to work from Prospect and coming this way every morning and coming home every night, having a neighborhood right here, having a church right here, the light bulb went off.”
Although he has been working in Wolcott, Cummings said he always planned to have a bakery in the borough.
“This is where we looked originally when we were going to open up a storefront, but there was nothing available that would fit our needs at that point,” Cummings said.
Cummings plans to hire additional staff when he opens in Naugatuck. The bakery currently has two bakers, two cake decorators, a front-end salesperson and an assistant.
Cummings said the majority of his business comes from cake orders, from birthday cakes to fancy wedding cakes. However, the bakery also sells pastries, cupcakes and éclairs.
“So, it’s not the huge, old Italian bakery with 5,000 items, but you’re also not just getting a cupcake,” Cummings said.
Although he still has a lot of work to do to make his new storefront ready to open, Cummings is glad he chose to bake in the borough.
“I’m glad we’re coming here. It will be a lot easier commuting. Plus, it’s kind of back where we started. The idea popped at home,” Cummings said.