July 24, 2014 at 4:53 AM
If only Corropolese Bakery and Deli catered every Lansdale Borough Council meeting.
The Lansdale bakery was honored last week by council Vice President Steve Malagari as Lansdale's Business of the Month for July. Normally, such honors are bestowed on a business owner at the Economic Development Committee meeting, but there was not one held in July. Thus, Malagari presented the honor at the council session instead.
"The moment you walk into the door, you identify with the smell of tomato pie, fresh-baked bread and pastries, customers placing orders and employees interacting with customers as they prepare the order," Malagari said.
"'Can I get some extra grated cheese on my quarter pie? Of course you can,'" said Malagari, highlighting what can be overheard inside the 541 S. Broad St. business. "'There's fresh pasta and sauce on the center shelf, ready to make an Italian meal.' 'How about a Fathead stuffed pepper or fresh cannoli?' Such are the sights, sounds and smells at Corropolese Bakery."
The bakery and deli began in the 1920s in a duplex on Airy Street in Norristown, Malagari said. Bread would be baked in the ovens in the back, and locals would come pick up the bread, he said. There was even a small fleet of delivery trucks to get the product out locally.
Malagari said Corropolese opened in 1984 in Norristown, and has since merged with Romano's Deli in the same shopping center.
"It was at this location where Jerry Fitzgerald, the owner of Corropolese Bakery in Lansdale, got his start with the company," Malagari said. "At this time, they only had one product: hard-style Italian bread. It wasn't until they merged with the deli that they expanded and began making items in-house."
Malagari said all items are made at a 30,000-square-foot facility in Norristown, which has grown from its origins in an 8,000-square-foot home.
In 2001, Joe Corropolese took over the business and opened the Limerick location. More expansion and evolving occurred, Malagari said, as the business began serving retail stores, pizza shops and restaurants.
"Jerry saw an opportunity for another store. (Jerry and Joe) selected Lansdale because they liked its population and Lansdale and the surrounding communities needed a store like theirs," Malagari said. "It's in proximity to large employers, solid traffic, great facaade, it's walkable and there are businesses in the center to attract to Corropolese."
Malagari said Corropolese opened in Lansdale on Jan. 30, 2013. He said the borough Department of Community Development ensured the layout of the store would maximize customer access to delicious goods.
"During the first year, they exceeded sales projections, and it looks the same for the second year," Malagari said.
He said Corropolese now offers everything from tomato pies, bread and cannolis to cakes, cookies and a variety of hoagies.
"Corropolese believes good customer service leads to a successful business," he said. "Yelp reviews reflect the staff commitment to excellent foods and service. Hosting a party? Think of catering. Tailgate? Take sandwiches and tomato pies. Orders can be made ahead and there are gift cards."
Malagari said the Lansdale owner himself recommends the Italian hoagie.
"Try it for yourself, or another item. You will not be disappointed," he said.