By David Piestrzynski
Special to The Review
The mad rush of Paczki Day is not something bakeries in Hamtramck can easily duplicate.
Sandy Bakic, of New Martha Washington Bakery, describes it as a “phenomenon.”
“It’s special,” she said. “People from all over want to experience it.”
And they do come from all over the world.
Vicky Ognanovich, of New Palace Bakery, said she had customers from as far as New Zealand, Hawaii and Guam this year. Many of these customers, she said, come every year.
“Last year we had people sign a guestbook,” Ognanovich said,“and this year we noticed we had a lot of the same people coming from all over the place.”
And while the annual Fat Tuesday sales boom is typically followed by a drop-off when people give up their favorite desserts for Lent, many bakers agree this year is different.
“It’s a bit slower than usual,” Ognanovich said. “But that’s probably because the economy is off right now.”
She said that while things typically slow down after Paczki Day, sales are usually still somewhat consistent.
“A lot of times people might give up brownies (for Lent),” she said, “but they’ll usually still come in and go with something else.”
Bakic agrees that the economy has become more of an obstacle for local bakeries.
“Nobody’s business is the way it used to be right now,” she said.
But the sluggish economy hasn’t slowed these bakers’ optimism for the next holiday rush.
Local bakeries are preparing for Easter, with the traditional items offered for the holiday every year.
These specialty items, such as egg bread, kolachki, babka and several others, are expected to be the usual hot sellers for Easter.
“Easter is a very colorful, festive holiday,” said Bakic. “It’s always been warmly remembered.”
Among the additional specialty items her bakery offers to help celebrate the holiday is a traditional Easter Bread Centerpiece.
Hamtramck’s other bakers also offer several other items for the holiday, such as various Easter cakes and dessert baskets.
But while Easter is typically a special, and lucrative, holiday for local bakeries, Bakic said it still can’t compare with Fat Tuesday in Hamtramck.
“No other holiday beats Paczki Day,” she said.