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Cupcakes to go: Robicelli’s heading to Baltimore

Another Bay Ridge bakery is packing its bags.

Allison and Matt Robicelli—lifelong Brooklynites known for their repertoire of sweet treats and such novelties as the candy-stuffed croissant and Nuttelasagna—are headed to Baltimore, and so is Robicelli’s.

“It’s scary,” said Allison, a lifelong Ridgeite who credits the move to the high cost of living in Bay Ridge—and the rest of the Big Apple. “I don’t think my parents have accepted it yet.”

“It’s insane all the things I took for granted like buying a house,” Allison went on, adding that, when she was growing up, “having a job that you loved was enough to get by.” Now, she said, it gets harder every day—especially for small businesses.

Photo courtesy of Robicelli's
Photo courtesy of Robicelli’s

“We have a great relationship with a really great landlord,” Allison stressed, “but there are still so many other hurdles about doing business that we sat down and said, ‘This is kind of crazy.’”

While the company’s booming wholesale business—which distributes to shops around the city and sometimes as far as Montauk—will stay rooted in New York City, its standalone bakery at 9009 Fifth Avenue, first opened in 2013, will close on Christmas Eve.

In Maryland, the Robicellis are in talks with an industrial developer; the space he’s offering would cost the couple nearly half of what they’re paying in New York—all while creating jobs for Charm City.

To boot, the relocation would allow Allison and her husband to keep the business alive without working 70-hour weeks.

“I want to do it all, but I can’t with this shop,” Allison said, adding that, while running the Bay Ridge bakery, she’s also been managing Robicelli’s wholesale, writing two books and teaching. In Baltimore, the team has partners to help run the shop. “The pros just outweighed the cons. No more panicking over things like straws.”

Nevertheless, the Brooklyn-based Robicelli’s is going to power through one last holiday season.

“The scariest thing for me is leaving Bay Ridge because this is my home,” Allison said. “Thirty five years—that’s a long time. I never pictured a life outside of here, but the reality is that I’m never going to be able to afford a house. You can’t have a middle-class neighborhood where the houses are starting at $900,000.”

Still, Allison said, her roots will remain.

“We’ll be back once a week,” she said. “It’s not like we’re closing, it’s more like we’re changing—and that’s really important in life, and important to survive.”

The Bay Ridge shop will only be open for the weekends until the week before Thanksgiving, Allison said. After that, “it’s pretty much seven days a week until Christmas Eve.”

Moving forward, Allison said, Robicelli’s-lovers will still be able to get their fix, one way or another.

“People will still be able to get our stuff all over New York City,” she told this paper.

For more information on Robicelli’s, visit www.robicellis.com.

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