A big change is coming for those who love (oh so good) donuts, cakes and sandwiches.
On a busy afternoon, Europe’s Old Fashion Bakery and Deli in downtown Port Coquitlam is a hive of activity.
Uniformed members of the Port Coquitlam Fire and Emergency Services shop for accessories to make 16 sandwiches, customers stock up on cakes, donuts, breads and meats, and happy children snack on cookies.
But the end of an era is looming on the horizon for the popular establishment that has been serving hearty, savory and sweet products for several decades.
The owners of Europe Old Fashion Bakery and Deli (2552 Shaughnessy Street) are retiring after selling the business to a new couple.
Maria Luis, owner of the bakery for 21 years next month, with her husband, Victor, expressed deep sadness as she prepares to say her final goodbyes to staff and her loyal clientele.
She told the News from the three citieson the one hand, everyone will miss him.
But on the other hand, she’ll be glad she doesn’t set her alarm clock in the wee hours of the morning to arrive at the bakery at 2:30 a.m. every day.
“I’m happy, but sometimes sad,” said Maria, who said the store will change hands on Tuesday (March 8).
In addition to Maria and Victor, sons Carlos and Victor Jr. also work at the bakery, which has great reviews on Trip Advisor.
A sign that the family will be missed are the hundreds of comments on social media.
Dozens of people expressed their support for the couple’s retirement on the Port Coquitlam Community Connections Facebook page, recalling tempting treats such as Black Forest cakes and long donuts.
“So many great memories and calories from Europe Bakery! Happy retirement!” reads a comment.
On Thursday (March 3), about a week before the store changed hands, a firefighter brought flowers to Maria, expressing sadness at her impending departure.
Chad Evans, who is from PoCo’s No. 1 room, told the News from the three cities firefighters had been frequenting the bakery since before he joined the service in 2004.
He says the chocolate-covered long donuts are “the best you’ll find anywhere.”
Maria said she and Victor would take matters into their own hands when they retire and consider a trip to Portugal, where they are from and where Maria’s sisters still live.
The couple have no plans to leave PoCo, where they have lived for 18 years, and believe the bakery will be in safe hands with no immediate changes and staff continuing to be employed.
“It’s time for us to retire,” said Maria, who is 70.
Still, giving up the place after so long could be difficult. But there will be a transition period for the new owners.
Victor said he and his son will be staying for a few months to help the new owners transition into the business, including sharing any recipes he has stored in his head, such as natas – a Portuguese pastry. He says he usually bakes up to 600 treats in preparation for a busy weekend.
The couple are the second owners of the shop; having bought the bakery from its original owners, who ran the shop for 23 years before them.
With its busy counter and shelves — and staff rushing between mixers, refrigerators and cooling racks — the store has been a mainstay in downtown Port Coquitlam.
However, with new owners, this major shopping destination will continue to operate, breathing life into downtown, which the city is revitalizing with recent changes to McAllister Avenue, plans to upgrade Veterans Park this summer. and modernize Leigh Square.
– with files from Mario Bartel, Tri-City News