Johnstown bakery owners catch their breath after ‘Boss’ visits
Valastro’s help was much appreciated
JOHNSTOWN Filming reality television is exhausting work, according to Chauncey McCormick.
She owns Grandma Millie’s Bakery near the Fulton County airport outside of Johnstown along with her son Jason and his wife, Ellen. The place was descended upon by TLC film crews last week for the filming of “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro’s new show, “Bakery Boss.”
Valastro worked with the McCormicks to straighten out their business model, and his crew renovated the bakery. There was a big reveal Sunday, with 1,500 locals showing up to buy cupcakes and other treats — and then the crew was gone.
“We’re still reeling,” Chauncey McCormick said.
Early Thursday morning, the bakery was open with a slow stream of locals getting breakfast and sipping coffee. The bakery smelled of butter and pastry and all the right sorts of sweet things, but all three McComicks seemed worn out.
“It’s the little things,” Chauncey McCormick said. “They renovated our bakery in 14 hours. We can’t find anything. Jason couldn’t find his frying pans, but I’m not complaining.”
In fact, she said the show was one of the best things to happen to Grandma Millie’s since it opened 14 years ago.
Millie’s has been around in various forms since 1999, spending time on Gloversville and Johnstown main streets before moving out near the airport three years ago.
Certain problems cropped up after the move.
“It’s hard to get people out here,” McCormick said. “It’s only a mile off Route 30A, but people think it’s too far.”
Then there was the issue of equipment. McCormick’s mixer and oven and all of the regular baking implements have been with her for 14 years.
“They were just slowly degrading,” she said, “and there wasn’t money to replace them.”
The TV show swooped in at a very opportune time, replacing equipment and redecorating.
None of the staff could say a whole lot about the show, and they won’t be able to until sometime in February when the episode airs. They’ve all signed contracts to protect the show’s dramatic reveal from prying camera lenses.
In general, Ellen McCormick said, there was some light scolding during the filming, but she couldn’t elaborate.
“Buddy is a really nice guy,” she said, “and a very savvy baker.”
As for the remodel, the small dining room interior got a paint job and a new airplane-based theme. There are old propellers on the walls and what looks like some sort of wing over the counter.
Thursday morning, Millie’s regular Glen DiPasquale drank coffee and ate apple pie at a corner table. He was there killing time and hoping that the dense fog would lift enough to fly his Cessna 150.
“I like this,” he said, motioning to the aeronautical ambiance. “This is a nice change. It was sort of bland.”
Aside from the decor, he said the food was always good, even before Valastro showed up. DiPasquale was the first customer at Millie’s new location and stops by pretty regularly for pie and coffee.
“They put their pride in this food,” he said. “You can tell.”
Valastro’s corrections, then, were more on the marketing and business side of things. Chauncy McCormick said his advice helped a lot, calling the show “the chance of a lifetime.”
Ellen McCormick said they applied to be on the show five months ago and had to sign stacks of documents verifying their identities and intentions and guaranteeing TLC that they wouldn’t spill specifics about the show’s content before the February air date.
“We went through two reams of paper printing out documents,” Chauncy McCormick said.
Despite the whirlwind of contracts, cameras and the missing frying pans, the McComicks said “Bakery Boss” was great for their business and the whole area.