Monday, November 22, 2010

Gone but not forgotten

Angelo's was a London fixture for half a century. Their original bakery and deli on Thompson Road was not just a store, it was a destination.

When they expanded into the north west of London, their second store was also a destination. They had some of the finest breads in London. And they carried some unique brands of cheese.

I knew someone who worked in their kitchen and after their first day they were bursting to tell me about their experience. I didn't want to hear. I worked in the food industry as a youth. But, I was going to learn about Angelo's kitchen, like it or not.

The kitchen was incredible, I was told. Spotless! And the ingredients were the freshest possible. If it wasn't fresh, it wasn't used.

Then Angelo's expanded to a third location. This time downtown. And sadly, they opened a fourth outlet. This one was in Southwest London, just a few kilometers from their second store. I worried at the time that they now had two expensive stores almost side by side. With the passing months the newest store carried fewer and fewer products and more and more of the checkout lanes stayed closed even during those rare busy moments.

A few weeks ago the entire Angelo's empire collapsed. Even the little diner downtown was taken down in the crash. Sad.

I had a friend who used to advise small businesses. He told me that one of the most common reasons for small operations failing was over expansion. Over expanding is fatal. I believe this is what killed Angelo's.

They will be sorely missed.
Jennifer O'Brien of The London Free Press did a fine take on the closing of the Angelo's chain.

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