SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio – In a few weeks, Michael Feigenbaum will be hanging up his rolling pin. After more than a year of trying to find a way to keep Lucy’s Sweet Surrender bakery going, having undergone surgery and surviving the coronavirus pandemic, the Shaker Heights businessman says enough is enough.
It won’t be the easiest thing to see his bakery equipment up for auction in November. It will mark the end of memories cherished over the years.
“I think there is a lot more to baking than just making money and being a money making business,” he said.
This becomes clear to him in these times of decline, such as recently when he delivered an order to a 94-year-old woman and long-time client at a nursing home.
“I’ve been doing this for four years now since she moved there and can’t drive anymore,” he said. “And these are the kinds of things that matter to me. I mean, I don’t get rich with this. But you know, she’s a wonderful woman. I grew up knowing her. One of his daughters was my age and we went to high school together and you know I’ve known them all my life. So it’s as precious as anything, and that’s kind of what really matters. “
Over a year ago, Feigenbaum posted a desperate appeal about the company. His back was causing him problems and he needed surgery. Winter – with its surge of vacation orders – was looming. He almost sold the business in January, but it failed. In February, without a deal, Feigenbaum returned to work, a little earlier than expected.
The activity remained stable, despite the challenges of the Covid. Physically, after the operation, Feigenbaum stayed away from farmers’ markets. He said the potential buyer was also discussing with the owner the possibility of purchasing the building in which the bakery is located at 20314 Chagrin Blvd. He got some help with a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
“We were doing very well,” he said. “So we just said, ‘Hey, let’s go on. Months ago, Feigenbaum said other potential deals and ideas had surfaced, but nothing had been finalized.
“Part of the problem is when you have a small business you know you have two options: you can show a lot of profit. And then you look great from a bank to borrow money. Or you can show lower profits and keep more of the money so you don’t pay so much in taxes. And that’s what I did because I wasn’t looking to borrow money. And anyone buying the bakery was going to need to have their own financing.
Feigenbaum said the owner had his own idea on how to resize the bakery, but was unwilling to reduce the size of the current space.
“That’s when I came to the conclusion: this is the end,” he said.
Feigenbaum therefore contacted a liquidator, whose advice was to go to auction before Thanksgiving. Otherwise, the holidays are coming – and for a bakery, that means increasing business with Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s treats, and then January – a traditionally slow month – follows.
“So I just decided, ‘That’s it,’ he said. “This is how we got to this point.”
The online auction is scheduled to run from Wednesday November 3 through Wednesday November 17. He now sells perishable goods. So it’s first come, first served, or sold out, he said.
The closure also marks the end of 40 years as a professional baker for Feigenbaum, 67. He has owned Lucy’s for 27 years. He moved it from the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood to its location on Chagrin Boulevard west of Warrensville Center Road about a decade ago.
That means not going to work at 3 or 4 in the morning anymore. He will have more time to work on house projects, play some golf and continue his rehabilitation after surgery. He can take his first vacation in over a decade and travel to see friends in California and elsewhere.
Feigenbaum resigns himself to the fact that the bakery will soon close its doors, that the hamantaschen will not be pinched, that the fresh breads will no longer fill the ovens, and that he will no longer have windows to slip in the delicacies he cooks early. the morning.
“It’s okay, I’m fine,” he said. “You know, like I said, I regret that Lucy won’t be there, but you know what… if this place was supposed to stay open, there would have been a solution, you know? “
Associated coverage: Do you want to buy a bakery? Lucy’s Sweet Surrender’s race is coming to an end
I am on cleveland.comlife and culture team and cover topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories, here is a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills from WTAM-1100 and I talk about food and drink usually at 8:20 am on Thursday mornings. And tune in at 7 a.m. on Wednesdays for “Beer with Bona and Much, Much More” with Munch Bishop on 1350-AM The Gambler. Twitter: @ mbona30.
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