In honor of Veterans Day, every Wednesday during the month of November we will post a story that highlights a different veteran owned business in our area. The story will also air in the 5:30 p.m. newscast on WECT.
Before Apple Annie’s was Apple Annie’s in Wilmington, NC, it was the Chester Bakery in Chester, NJ. Current Apple Annie’s owner, Rob Cooley and his family grew up just a few towns over from Chester and that bakery was one of their favorites.
Frank Longordo owned the Chester Bakery. He began his baking career in the late 40’s, baking for the Marine Corps.
“We have some old black and white photos in the stores of some of the cakes that he made for the Marine Corps birthday ball and just other celebrations,” Cooley said. “And I’ll tell ya, they don’t make cakes like that anymore. It is unbelievable to see some of the pictures.”
Cooley went off to West Point in the summer of 1985, and being that the Chester Bakery was his favorite, he had his going away cake from there.
Soon after that, Longordo sold the shop there and moved down to Wilmington. But Cooley and Longordo never crossed paths in New Jersey.
Flash forward about 20 years when Rob was coming back from a deployment to Afghanistan and was looking for his next job opportunity.
“[I] was introduced to Frank really as a means to see if this was going to be a good potential fit,” Cooley said. “We wanted to make sure that I understood what Frank and Apple Annie’s brought to the community and I wanted to make sure that I had the skills to be successful to continue it into it’s next phase of growth.”
Frank and Rob hit it off right away.
Unfortunately, Frank passed away in the back of the bake shop about eight years ago so he never had the chance to work with Rob.
Soon after, Rob took ownership of the bakery and has since made sure to continue to keep Frank’s legacy alive.
“The foresight that he brought in terms of just bringing in the highest quality products, handmade and meeting the needs of the community, being really impactful in the community and having the ability to give back is something we continue to do today,” Cooley said.
For more info on Apple Annie’s to see what all they offer, visit their website by clicking here.
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