NANUET, N.Y. -- Nanuet's Rockland Bakery has been at it for over 75 years, expanding from simply a neighborhood bakery to a wholesale giant that has over 200 routes, to four surrounding states plus Massachusetts and Delaware.
But locals get an experience that retail customers from afar miss out on: an opportunity to put on gloves and grab a paper bag, wade further into the wonderful aromas of the bakery, and pick out their own baked goods, right off the conveyor belts or cooling racks.
The bakery sells a wide array of items -- which you can browse here -- but if you buy bagels or sandwich-making items right there, you can then wander into the deli, where they'll top them with cream cheese, meats et cetera.
"What makes Rockland Bakery unique, is that for a bakery of our size, we haven't gone to specializing in one or two items," Director of Sales Mike Battaglia told Daily Voice. "We pride ourselves on being able to provide a wide variety of items, of all sizes."
Battaglia's father was one of the five brothers who bought the bakery in 1986. "I've come up in the business," Battaglia said.
His father passed away two years ago, but the other four brothers are still involved in the business, as well as other family members. And the business is family-oriented in another way, as well: "We have employees that have been with us for 30-plus years," Battaglia said.
The operation has now expanded to five baking centers in the area, and the company sells items wholesale to organizations of various sizes, including small restaurants, hotels and food-service companies like Aramark.
If you've eaten at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, you've probably eaten their products.
Rockland also provides items to hospitals and schools, including whole-grain items for students, Battaglia noted. The business has also absorbed other bakeries as it's grown, including Pechter's Bakery in Harrison, New Jersey; Fair Lawn's Sabrett Baking; and Brooklyn's Voila Sweets.
"We have different baking processes," he explained. "We have fully-automated bakery facilities, but we have some products we still make by hand, the old-fashioned way."
And the Nanuet bakery displays that fully, with a range of Italian treats and other goodies displayed in the cases, along with an assortment of cakes and pies.
For more information on the bakery, visit its website or Facebook page. Or come check out the bakery in person, at 94 Demarest Mill Rd. Just be sure to allow some extra time, since the bakery is far from a well-kept secret.