Devore's carries on bakery tradition from new location
Published 2:41 pm, Wednesday, July 7, 2010
While the enticing waft of freshly baked pastries remains the same, much has changed at Devore's Bakery.
Most notable is the location -- from its landmark location at 1979 Post Road in downtown Fairfield to 656 Brooklawn Ave., Bridgeport, just over the Fairfield line.
Mike Oracheff, Devore's current owner, said the skyrocketing rent of the Post Road location was the key ingredient in his decision to shutter the bakery. Yet when Devore's left Fairfield about five years ago, Oracheff remained in business and continued to sell Devore's signature doughnuts through Chaves Bakery at 1365 State St. Bridgeport.
The middle-aged owner reopened Devore's this March, on St. Patrick's Day, devoid of any publicity or grand opening. In contrast to the attention that Devore's once captured due to its central location and glowing reputation, Oracheff admitted, "No one even knows I'm here."
Yet Oracheff, a native of Fairfield, plans to change that. In an effort to boost sales, he hosted a grand opening on July 4, has begun to advertise and built an outdoor patio with tables.
"We're all moving in the right direction," Oracheff said.
The new bakery, a small cornerstone within a shopping center, no longer has the nostalgic charm and the old-fashioned feel that once captivated the minds and mouths of wide-eyed children and adults in downtown Fairfield. Still, Oracheff has managed to cater to his new community. And he associates much of his success to the personal, familial vibe that he said Devore's still represents.
For example, Devore's has begun baking a Jewish bread, "challah," to appeal to the local Jewish population. Also, Oracheff said that the Brooklawn Avenue neighborhood is a "walking community" and that passerbys frequently stop in for a doughnut and a complementary coffee.
Despite a transformation in Fairfield that has brought national entities such as Starbucks and Robeks (a smoothie shop which now stands in Devore's previous location) to town, Oracheff said he believes that "people are looking to support the `Mom-and-Pop' shops."
A sweet history
Devore's has always been a family-run enterprise and community landmark. Rumor has it that Mike Devore Sr., who first opened Devore's in Fairfield in 1924, secretly gave away sugar, a once valuable commodity, during the Great Depression. The ownership passed through three generations of Devores until Bob Oracheff bought the bakery from the family in 1985. Nine years later, Bob Oracheff handed the bakery down to his son, Mike, who now runs the business. And what's more, Mike's wife, Dawn, and children, Zachery, 12, Avery, 8, and Tanner (named by his older siblings after Tanner Hall, the famous skier), 5, are known to help out in the bakery during their free time. Even employee Juan Valencia, 50, has been working at Devore's since he was 18 years old.
For more information, call Devore's at 203-583-0964 or stop by its new location at 656 Brooklawn Ave., Bridgeport.