The Ludlow Central Bakery opened its doors Tuesday morning for the first time since the owner was stabbed to death by a former employee.

Now, the owner's family is ready to get back to doing what they do best: serving the community, no matter how challenging it may be right now.

You can smell the delicious pastries the moment you walk through the door.

The Ludlow Central Bakery on East Street is welcoming customers and supporters back in after three weeks of heartache. "It was time. All this tragedy, time to get up," said Benvinba Santos.

Benvinba co-owned the store with her husband, 70-year old Carlos Santos for decades. That is until police allege that Franklin Conza, a former employee of the store, grabbed a knife while in the shop and stabbed Santos three times, killing him.

Conza pleaded not guilty to murder charges last month.

"It's very hard because my husband is not going to be here," Benvinba Santos added.

The store closed for three weeks, despite an outcry of support from the community and Benvinba told Western Mass News it was that overwhelming love from friends and family that convinced her it was time.

Carlos would've wanted it too. "It was his dream to serve the people," Benvinba Santos explained.

So they will continue on with that dream, from danishes and donuts to the famous custard cup.

"Eggs, sugar, flour, butter, and water," Benvinba Santos said.

Carlos and Benvinba would've been married 43 years next month and while she still has a heavy heart, long-time customers like Kathy Costa, and dozens more, are here to help them carry on.

"I feel horrible for them, but very happy that they are back open, and life goes on," Costa said.

The bakery will now remain open under new hours: Tuesday through Saturday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

As for the suspect, Conza will be back in court for a hearing next week.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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