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Local Business Struggles to Survive

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB)- It’s known as a place to get your favorite pastry, right on Sumner Ave in Springfield. Gus and Paul’s bakery has been serving the community since 1958.
“I want to be a part of that but I need to provide for my family, I need to provide for my employees and I need to know that’s what people want,” said Gordie Weissman, the third-generation owner.

For the first time ever, the business is on the verge of closing.  Weissman said that a few weeks ago he decided it might finally be time when he heard advertisement with what he calls ‘false claims.’

“There’s supermarket s that give an illusion that they have a bakery and they don’t have a bakery,” he said.  “They’re taking stuff out of the freezer and thawing it out and pretending they made it.”

Gordie’s frustrations don’t just stop there.   Like many store owners, he says the increased costs of ingredients and business expenses are really making it tough for his bakery to survive.  So he wrote a letter to the community members to express his concerns.  Gordie said the support has been overwhelming.

“Unbelievable- I almost cried,” he said.  “I had to go in the back… it was just amazing.”

But business expert Eric Gouvin from Western New England University said if Gus and Paul’s is going to stay, they will have to make some changes to adapt to the modern customer.

“We’re living in a time where consumers crave craft products so we have craft brewers, craft distillers.  If they were to position themselves as craft bakery, showing if you’re paying a little bit more, making an extra trip is worth it for what you get, I think that could work.”

But Gordie says even if he makes some adjustments to his business, he won’t be changing everything.  He won’t be skimping on ingredients and he’ll be making everything fresh, daily.

“We don’t use any preservatives. If you want to give your family good, healthy stuff to eat then you should be buying from an independent baker that buys it fresh from scratch on the premises.”

Gordie says he plans to continue to hear from the community to find ways to stay open and might add a new parking lot.

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