For all my life, I thought of TreRose Bakery as nothing more than my grandfather’s pride and joy; however, what the bakery means to both my family and the community of Rexdale is so much deeper than a personal success story.
TreRose Bakery sits at 2098 Kipling Avenue, a mere 10-minute drive from the University of Guelph-Humber. While most people think of a bakery as somewhere to get bread or cakes, TreRose Bakery holds itself to much higher standards.
The Italian bakery comprises a grocery section where you can buy exclusive goods imported from Italy and an extravagant deli with an endless number of mouthwatering cold cuts and cheese. The store also features a tantalizing hot table consisting of savory cuisine. Pastas, meats, pizzas, sandwiches, you name it, it’s there. Finally, in case you forgot, TreRose Bakery is a bakery; therefore, fresh bread and cakes and pastries can also be purchased at the store.
So what? Why does this matter? First of all, you tell me where I can get food on Humber North campus during this pandemic school year. Last time I checked, there aren’t very many options! Lastly, and most importantly, I have three words to answer those questions: family, love, community.
My maternal grandparents immigrated to Canada from Calabria, Italy in 1964. They didn’t have any children yet and wanted to start a new life in an emerging country with boundless opportunities. Over the next 10 years, they would have three children.
After years of working for Cara Foods (now known as Recipe Unlimited), my grandfather, Cosimo Mollica, strived to display his Italian heritage on Canadian soil and opened an Italian bakery with a business partner. Seventeen years later, my grandfather took a risk and established his own Italian bakery rooted in the importance of family. TreRose Bakery opened its doors in 1989 and over three decades later, three generations of my family have helped to contribute to the success of the business.
“A ogni uccello il suo nido è bello,” my grandfather said after I asked how TreRose Bakery has safeguarded a strong relationship in the family. The exact translation is ‘every bird finds his own beautiful nest’; this is the Italian equivalent to home sweet home. Italian culture is deeply rooted in togetherness and family. TreRose Bakery has helped maintain the affection within my family as we recognize TreRose Bakery as our own home instead of just being a business. This means that not only do we work as a family while we are there, but we also live and love as a family while taking pride in our work.
My grandmother, Rosetta Mollica, became severely ill with encephalitis in March 1996. Encephalitis is inflammation of the active tissues of the brain which was caused by a virus she contracted. After having surgery done on her brain to save her life, she is no longer able to verbally communicate and will have memory issues for the rest of her life. While this lifechanging event caused tension between family members, TreRose Bakery acted as an escape from reality at the time.
“It was very difficult for everyone knowing that our lives would forever be changed,” said my mother, Maria Gerardi. “Being able to work at the bakery as a family and put a smile on customer’s faces really helped get us through such a hard time.”
Both of my parents work at TreRose Bakery as full-time managers. While working with your spouse may not be every married couple’s preference, my dad, Eddy Gerardi, constantly says, “When your mom isn’t at work, my day isn’t complete.”
My dad worked as lumber salesman before committing to TreRose Bakery full-time. His career in sales crafted him into a real people’s person and never-ending talker. My dad’s enthusiastic spirit has allowed him to make lifelong friendships with some of the bakery’s customers. These relationships have helped both him and the rest of my family grasp how much TreRose Bakery truly means to the community of Rexdale.
“I come to TreRose multiple times a week, every single week,” an older gentleman said about the bakery. “The best sourdough in town!”
TreRose Bakery has given back to the community of Rexdale through loyal service and dedication to prepare the best possible experience for its clientele every single day. In return, customers show appreciation through continued devotion and recognition of my family’s and our employee’s hard work.
“My nonna is addicted to your bread,” a young woman said to me while I was slicing her fresh toast. “The food, groceries, everything quite frankly, reminds her of her younger days growing up in Italy.”
While the neighbourhood of Rexdale-Kipling has a majority Italian demographic, TreRose Bakery holds a significant place in the hearts of all Rexdale residents. I have been working there part-time for almost two years and have seen people of all cultures thoroughly enjoy and feel at home at this Italian bakery.
Every University of Guelph-Humber student contemplates on how they should spend their break between classes. If you choose to come to TreRose Bakery, I promise it will be worth your time. Who knows, you might even cross paths with me while visiting one of Rexdale’s favorite Italian bakery.