Popular Manchester bakery closing after 30 years

New Hampshire Union Leader
July 01. 2017 7:42PM
Kay Skilogianis keeps an eye on Regis Chagnon as he fills a pork pie at Kay's Bakery in Manchester on Thursday. The partners are retiring and closing the popular bakery after 30 years of business. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER -- Kathy West drove 90 minutes each way Thursday to pick up custard pita and fruited turnovers from Kay's Bakery.

"We just discovered them last week," said West, who lives in the Sullivan County town of Washington. "I just find a good thing, and it's not going to be here anymore."

West won't be the only one disappointed that the Lake Avenue bakery is hanging up its rolling pin after 30 years.

Holding up a square of spinach pita he bought, Manchester resident Ron Auger said: "This was sometimes my breakfast here."

July 14 will be the final day for people to pick up their Greek and French Canadian specialties.

"We're tired," said Regis Chagnon, who, with partner Kay Skilogianis, have operated the bakery since 1987.

"We put in our 30 years here, and it's time," Skilogianis said.

Customers will miss Chagnon singing "O Canada" in French as he dished out pork pies. And he proudly shows off the key to the city they received from then-Mayor Emile Beaulieu in 1989.

"Your big sellers here was your pita and your baklava and your butter twist and your pork pies and chicken pies," Chagnon said.

Expanded supermarket bakeries have eaten into smaller bakeries over the years. Skilogianis remembers something like 40 bakeries around the city in the 1970s and early '80s. Now, Chagnon figures, there are fewer than a dozen.

Skilogianis said they could have made more money if they had created a fancy website, but they decided to deal face to face with their customers.

"I'm not on the Internet," she said. "I stuck to old school."

The pair met 47 years ago when she worked at the Thanos grocery store at the corner of Cedar and Pine streets.

"I see this cute woman," Chagnon recalled. "The owner tried to fix us up together and he did."

"And now you know the rest of the story," she said.

Rachel Kuehne, who works at Michelle's Gourmet Pastries & Deli on Union Street, said she hadn't heard the news about a competitor.

Kuehne said she sometimes would send people in her shop to Kay's if she didn't stock what that person was looking for.

"It's always kind of sad to see people close their doors," she said. "It's nice (for us) to have more customers."

Chagnon and Skilogianis haven't made many plans yet. They sold the bakery building at 443 Lake Ave.

They will be shedding 70 to 80 hours weeks they often worked from September through New Year's.

"I don't want to go into a nursing home right away," joked the 83-year-old Chagnon. "I want to enjoy life a little bit."


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