Vaccaro's Closing its Doors
The store, which has been inside the Market House since 2006, will close for renovations; it is unclear if it will re-open.
As the clock strikes midnight tonight, Vaccaro's Italian Pastry Shop in the Market House building will be closing its doors.
Nick Vaccaro, president of Vaccaro's, which has had a shop in the Market House since 2006, said he received a letter the first week of December from the city asking him to vacate the building by Dec. 31.
The City of Annapolis and Gone to Market, LLC, a part of Lehr Jackson Associates development firm focused on developing the Annapolis Market House project, are in the process of negotiating a lease for the Market House Building. A draft of the lease was presented in a Dec. 20 city council meeting. The City of Annapolis and Gone to Market have been in talks since the city called for an "open audition of ideas" for the Market House last spring.
Vaccaro said he's seen "bits and pieces" of the new lease, and doesn't think there's any space in the redesign for Vaccaro's.
"My only plans were to stay in the Market House," Vaccaro said.
"I'm so disappointed with the way things are right now. I can't even tell you what I want to see there now. I thought the city of Annapolis and I were on the same page. Mayor Cohen said he viewed Vaccaro's as a friend of the city. Ever since then, I've had a knife stuck in the back," Vaccaro said.
The scene at Vaccaro's Friday was somber, with regulars coming in to stock up on their favorite pastries.
"The city is evicting us," said Nikki Roden, manager at the Vaccaro's Market House location.
She said she learned of the Dec. 31 closing only Wednesday.
Roden said she has known for a while that the store would be closing for renovation, adding that she originally was told it would be Jan. 2. But when asked if they would be coming back, she said she doesn't know.
The timeline for the rennovated Market House calls for construction to begin in January, with an opening date slated for May 1, Mayor Josh Cohen said at the Dec. 20 city council meeting.
Doug Smith, who has been the city's point person for the negotiations with Gone to Market, LLC, said the move is necessary to begin construction.
"We've met with Vaccaro's and they've been a good tenant. We very much appreciate the fact that they've stuck with us," Smith said, adding that they need to open up the space and re-design the floorplan in the Market House building.
Smith added that the pastry shop will begin removing its equipment next week.
He added that whether Vaccaro's will be part of the new Market House, in a different space, will not be up to the city.
Smith said the city has been in discussions with Vaccaro's regarding the Market House space for the last six months but added that whether Vacarro's will have a place in the Market House in the future is unclear because the lease has not been signed.
Smith said while the city will look at the kinds of tenants to include in the building, it will not dictate which vendors will be there; that will be the responsibility of Gone to Market.
Smith said negotiations with BankAnnapolis, the other remaining tenant in the Market House, are still underway.
Calls to BankAnnapolis were not immediately returned.
Roden has worked in the building nearly four years and has worked for the Vacarro's for 10 years. She said the hardest part about closing is that she will miss the regulars whom she's gotten used to. Roden said for now, she will work in one of Vaccaro's other locations, but added that Baltimore is "awful far" for her.
A public hearing on the Market House lease that was planned for Jan. 3 has been cancelled, due to continued negotiations on details that have not been settled, Smith said.
A copy of the drafted lease can be viewed here.
Gary Starikoff contributed to this article.