CAPE ELIZABETH — Nearly four years after a storm blew the top off the Cookie Jar Pastry Shop, customers lined up for the sweet treats they have been without for so long.
The business reopened on Thursday, May 27, and more than 900 people came through the doors at 554 Shore Road.
South Portland resident Marie Jordan said she was very happy the store is back.
“I’ve been looking forward to the date-filled cookies for years,” she said. “I am here picking some up to bring to my son in Bangor.”
Lee Kimball, a Cape Elizabeth resident, said he used to come to the bakery every other day before it suddenly closed in 2006. He said his favorite treat is a cinnamon bun with the frosted top.
“I give this place 10 stars,” he said. “The day they closed was a very sad day for me.”
The business has been closed since October 2006, when a storm tore the roof off the building. In March, Great Falls Construction began renovations, and it was announced recently that the company not only rebuilt the business, but also financed its rebirth.
Todd Rothstein, project manager for the Gorham-based business, said former Cookie Jar owners Donna and Tom Piscopo are still running the business, and the construction company will provide financial assistance until they are back on their feet.
Considering nearly 1,000 people showed up at the soft opening on May 27, the Piscopos are well on their way.
Donna Piscopo said there was a line of customers waiting when the doors opened at 6 a.m. She said they planned to close at 6 p.m., but were unable to lock up until 8:45 p.m. in order to serve everyone.
“People were literally jumping up and down when they came in,” she said. “It is overwhelming, but wonderful and exciting at the same time.”
The Piscopos have owned the business since 1981, when Tom bought it from his parents, Grace and Frank, who owned it since the late 1960s.
Piscopo said while the business was closed, she returned to culinary school at Southern Maine Community College to learn more about baking and cooking. She said she has a semester to finish and has thoroughly enjoyed the program.
She said the Cookie Jar will feature all the favorites from before, all types of donuts, cookies, and pastries, as well as soups and sandwiches prepared on a daily basis. Although the physical space is the same, all the new equipment, display cases and decor makes it feels like a new shop.
“We were afraid it had been too long since we were open, and were a little apprehensive in the beginning,” she said. “But when we opened and we saw a line out the door and around the corner, it felt amazing.”
Shea Rony was a Cookie Jar employee for three years before the business closed. Now a graduate student, Rony has returned to work at the bakery. She said the Cookie Jar is a fun place to work and said the Piscopos are great to work with.
“It’s great to see all these people coming in the door,” she said during a busy Friday afternoon rush. “I’m happy to be here again.”
Piscopo said an official grand reopening will be on Saturday, June 12, to coincide with Cape Family Fun Day. She said with all the people in the area, it will be a good time for a celebration.
“We are so thankful to the community for their support, for coming back out and to Great Falls for all their help,” she said. “It feels like coming home.”
Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Piscopo works in the kitchen of the Cookie Jar in Cape Elizabeth on May 27, making some of the hundreds of doughnuts customers scooped up when the pastry shop reopened.
Some of the hundreds of people who made it to the soft reopening of the Cookie Jar on May 27 in Cape Elizabeth. A grand reopening will be Saturday, June 12, to coincide with the annual Cape Family Fun Day.