WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - People in western Mass are mourning the sudden loss of a local businessman and pastry icon.
Antonio Cerrato passed away on January 22.
The 57-year-old owned Cerrato's Pastry Shop in West Springfield.
The history and memories at Cerrato's Pastry Shop are as rich as their chocolate fudge cake.
"His artistry was in the actual product," Todd Conway, the manager of Cerrato's Pastry Shop, tells us.
Antonio Cerrato, or Tony, came to America from Italy in 1982.
He met his wife, Rosamaria, and opened Cerrato's Pastry Shop in 1988.
"He’s been a staple of West Springfield just providing outstanding pastries and keeping up the legacy of great, Italian delicacies, like cannolis and cookies. You can’t even imagine the amount of cookies he can make and the amount of pastries that come from his years of experience. We have people now, 'You did my wedding cake. Now, I’m coming here for my daughter's wedding cake.' I’m like, 'That’s awesome'," explained Conway.
Todd Conway has been the pastry shop manager for the past four years.
He spoke exclusively to Western Mass News about the kind of guy Tony was.
"It wasn’t about getting new customers. It was about the customers he already had and their families so that they could keep up their tradition. He kept up his tradition of making such amazing things for them to enjoy on those special occasions, be it a birthday, a baptism, any event, any holiday," continued Conway.
Saturday morning, it was a familiar scene at the pastry shop on Elm Street, a constant flow of customers, but now, many longtime customers were sharing their favorite memories of the pastry legend.
"I came in to give my condolences to the family and I wanted to buy some pastries for Tony and his family. We’re all very sad and shocked. They have really nice pastries. It’s nice to come here, be able to come in, and hear people talk Italian and see Tony and his family. Like a home," West Springfield resident Judith Malvezzi stated.
"All about family. Those are days and moments that you spend with your family in celebration, and people chose his product to help celebrate those special occasions and that’s what he brought here, is those moments. He brought something that brought everybody around a table to enjoy," added Conway.
Tony leaves behind his wife, Rosamaria, son, Gerardo, and daughter, Isabella.