A local baker is being fondly remembered by the Morris Park community that has enjoyed her delicious treats for years.
Agnes Floriano, 85, passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was co-owner of Enrico’s Pastry Shop, located at 1057 Morris Park Avenue near Hone Avenue.
Floriano and her late husband Nicolas served the Morris Park community pastries and cakes since 1959.
While business goes on at Enrico’s, with Italian ices a favorite this summer, her son said that for about 15 years the store was only open three days a week. The business was open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and was unique in that regard, with loyal customers coming to purchase cakes and pastries. Today it is open seven days a week and going stronger than ever.
“We were city-renowned for being open just three days a week, and people would line up outside of the store to buy cakes and pastries on the weekend,” Joseph Floriano said.
Floriano said that his mother grew up in East Harlem between East 111th and East 112th streets and that her father owned a bakery in what was then a thriving Italian community.
She opened the Morris Park shop with her husband after getting married. Her son remembered her as a very hard worker, and attributed much of the success of the business to her.
“She worked in the front of the store, side-by-side with my father, and then in the back tying boxes of canolis and putting icing on cakes,” he said. “She survived breast cancer twice. The day that she got out of the hospital, she would be back at the store working. She was one of the strongest women I have ever meet. Running the store was her number one priority.”
Donna Dechiaro, a customer at Enrico’s, said that the bakery has reached a kind of iconic status in the community because it is one of the longest continuously-run businesses along the Morris Park Avenue shopping strip.
“I think that she was there so long, and the business has been there for so long, that the community lost something with her passing,” Dechiaro said. “I remember when they would only be open on weekends and people would line up outside the store to buy baked goods. Even people from out-of-town come, especially around the holiday season.”
The store carries pastries, cookies, and Italian pound cake, among other items. Joseph Floriano said that aside from running the shop, Agnes Floriano also had passion for arranging trips to Atlantic City for her friends.
Morris Park Community Association president, Al D’Angelo, remembered Floriano as someone who was community-oriented.
“She was a lovely lady who was always there to welcome people coming into the shop,” D’Angelo said. “She would give a cookie to my grandson when we would come in.”
He also praised her business savvy.
“She was a tough business lady, but a very good community person.”