By Dana Casullo
Despite a nearly a century's worth of changes, DiCamillo's has thrived for nearly 100 years. The bakery's bread is famous across the state and is now sold worldwide. While their bread has made them a success story, they have expanded into a franchise with many baked goods. The bakery's success begins with an Italian immigrant and the franchise is now run by the family's third and fourth generations.
The bakery's history traces back to the 1920s when Tomaso DiCamillo traveled from Abruzzi, Italy, to Niagara Falls, New York. His goal was to start a new life for his family. He decided to purchase a three-story building, which became the first DiCamillo Bakery. The bakery was located in the basement underneath a small grocery store. Following the bakery's establishment, Tomaso's wife, Addolorata, and their 11 children moved to Niagara Falls to begin their new life together. DiCamillo's was the first bakery to open in Niagara Falls. Due to a lack of competition, Tomaso focused on the quality of his bakery. He worked diligently shredding wheat and produced bread that is still the most popular item sold at DiCamillo's bakery. After the bread was cooled, it would be delivered fresh from the oven by horse-drawn wagons to the customer's home and grocery stores. The bakery became incredibly successful and several locations have been open, although the original bakery is no longer open.
The bread at DiCamillo's is well known because it has been around since its opening. It is traditional homemade bread with a unique texture. The outside has a crunch to it, but the inside is incredibly soft. The size of their bread is large compared to their competitors. Not only are they known for their bread, but they are also known for their authentic Italian pastries, jam, pizza, pasta and canned fruit. DiCamillo's has made it their priority to ensure that all fruit passing through their services is fresh and locally grown. You can purchase all of these items on DiCamillo's website.
Skip DiCamillo, Tomaso's grandson, currently runs the bakery with his three brothers. Skip visits all the locations daily. Although the original DiCamillo's location isn't opened anymore, the building is still owned by a member of the family. According to DiCamillo, the most successful location is located at 7927 Niagara Falls Blvd. Their main office where all four of the brothers go to is located at 811 Linwood Ave., Niagara Falls.
"We participate in the Jazz Festival and the Lewiston Art Festival. We keep our shop opened and there is also a stand in front of the shop," said DiCamillo.
The Lewiston location is a popular spot to go to because of the festivals held in Lewiston each summer. These annual events not only bring out regular customers but also introduce DiCamillo's to new customers from the Niagara region and beyond. Due to their long history and quality products, DiCamillo's has attracted many lifelong customers.
Donna Domiano is a frequent customer at DiCamillo's.
"I always come here for the pizza with just the tomato sauce, because it's not loaded with cheese," she said. " I have been going to the bakery since 1960 and the quality hasn't changed, just the price."
Not only do they have five locations where you can purchase the food, they also sell online around the world. DiCamillo's started out by selling wholesale to stores in New York City; they even do private labels for stores such as Zabars, which is a popular store in New York City. DiCamillo's also participated in trade shows in the city and retailers from all around the world would come to taste the vender's food. Wholesale is very popular especially around Christmas time for DiCamillo's. According to Michael DiCamillo, in retail everything is Christmas. Stores such as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, and select gourmet stores buy products from DiCamillo's.
"What people should know about our bakery is that it is not a restaurant with a bakery. A lot of places have a restaurant with a bakery as a gimmick, such as Panera and Tim Hortons," DiCamillo said.
For more information and other locations, visit the DiCamillo's website.