SOUTHINGTON — A new Fancy Bagels location could open at the end of the month on Buckland Street but shop owners say that’s just the first of several planned expansions.
Dominick Gualtieri and Salvatore Belcaro, Fancy Bagels owners, have two additional locations in the works and want to set up a bagel factory in Southington to meet rising retail and wholesale demand. In addition to the Queen Street location, Fancy Bagels also has a Farmington shop where the bagel dough is currently mixed.
Gualtieri said he thought they were at capacity when they made 1 million bagels in a year. Last year they made 1.3 million, a record for the shop.
“We’re bursting at the seams,” he said of the bagel-making operation in Farmington. “We’re at seven days a week.”Plantsville location
Chris Fiorillo, a distant cousin of Gualtieri, partnered with Fancy Bagels owners to open a shop in the former Angela’s Pizza location at 309 Buckland St. The pizza shop moved to Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike late last year.
Fiorillo said the Fancy Bagels XPress will cater to on-the-go customers. It’ll have most of the items as other Fancy Bagel locations as well as smoothies, a new menu item for the chain.
He’s planning to start with 10 smoothie flavors and is considering banana mango, tropical, blueberry blast and kale or spinach.
“I think it’s going to be a big deal,” Fiorillo said.
Fiorillo and property owner Tom Lombardi renovated the building in preparation for the opening. While there’s no indoor dining, customers will have a place to sit outside.
Lombardi said he was glad Fancy Bagels was entering Plantsville.
“I think we made some nice improvements to the building and it’s a great addition to the Plantsville area,” he said. “I look forward to them doing fantastic in that location.”
Gualtieri said he and Belcaro have been planning an expansion to that section of town for some time and called the move “inevitable.”Former record shop owner
Fiorillo had planned to open a coffee shop but saw the opportunity to partner with Fancy Bagels. He’s excited about serving Down East coffee at the location.
Fancy Bagels already has an established name in town, Fiorillo said.
“That was important to me, being able to team up with them,” he said. “It’s business from day one. Fancy Bagels have such a good reputation, people love it.”
While this is his first food industry venture, Fiorillo has had several of his own businesses, including the music store Quiet Sounds next to Hen House BBQ on Main Street.
He’s currently a Warner Brothers manager for Chris Webby, a rapper from Norwalk. Fiorillo has worked in music management and marketing for 20 years.
“Food is definitely new for me,” Fiorillo said.Neil’s bagels
Gualtieri will need to produce more bagels for the additional store locations but also for wholesale customers such as Neil’s Donuts in Wallingford and Middletown. Bagel dough is mixed in Farmington and then shipped frozen to shops to be baked. In the case of the small Wallingford Neil’s location, Gualtieri bakes the bagels first and then delivers them.
Neil Bukowski said Gualtieri has “gone out of his way” to help his shop. He’s hoping to get more bagels since he’ll often run out of them by nine or 10 in the morning.
“He has a really good bagel. I think they’re great. The demand for them, it’s hard to keep up,” Bukowski said.
Gualtieri has an Industrial Drive location picked out for the bagel factory that will hopefully better meet demand, he said. He’s been working on the factory for six months.
“We don’t even have enough room now,” he said. “We thought we maxed out when we had a million bagels (per year).”