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Heartbreak in Flatbush Over Closing of Lords Bakery

A Flatbush institution closes and locals worry about the changing identity of the area.

When Kenneth Mbonu learned that longtime Flatbush institution, Lords Bakery and Photocakes, was giving out free baked goods early last week, he was surprised. But the news turned to shock when he later saw notices on the bakery's door indicating the business was permanently closed.

Then carpenters came in and started boarding up the outside of the space, said Mbonu, the president and executive director of the Flatbush Nostrand Junction Business Improvement District (BID).

"That was the reality check there," he said. "As a child, if you live in Flatbush, it was likely that your parents bought your birthday cake at Lords Bakery. It was that much of a staple."

It is to no one's surprise that the city is tough place to own and operate a small business. High rent, inflation, among other things, all affect slim margins. Local business owners and patrons who spoke to BK Reader lamented that the bakery's closing was a huge, and perhaps, symbolic, loss for the community.

"It's kind of sad that it happened to them," said Mukesh Sookram, a manager of Debe Kitchen, a Trinidadian restaurant across the street from Lords Bakery. "I definitely hope they come back. There's a lot of landlord issues in New York."

Vernon Thompson, a sales representative at nearby Boost Mobile, worried about all the workers who lost their jobs.

"I hope they resolve whatever it is. It would be sad if it doesn't come back," he said.

Lords Bakery was around for nearly 60 years at the same location, a few blocks from Brooklyn College. It made cakes, pies, breads, eclairs, and other pastries. It was one of the first bakeries on the east coast to offer photocakes and they were famous for their red velvet cake. 

However, according to Mbonu, things began to change in 2019 when the Geller family, who owned Lords for many decades, sold the property to Southwind Realty Corp., according to public records. Then the bakery itself was sold in 2022 to David Drake II.

This was after the COVID-19 pandemic in which many small businesses struggled and Lords was no different. News 12 Brooklyn reported that a judge forced the bakery to close because of unpaid bills. Drake had started a GoFundMe page to raise money a few days earlier but it was not enough to cover what he owed.

Efforts to locate and speak to Drake were unsuccessful.

For Millie, who has lived in the area for 12 years and declined to give her last name, Lords Bakery is a reminder of how expensive the neighborhood has become.

"You can't live here any longer. You walk down Flatbush, it's all places for rent," she said as she gestured to two storefronts next to Lords with "for rent" signs on them.

She added that a nearby Walgreens closed recently and now she has to take a bus to another location to pick up her medication. 

Lifelong Flatbush resident Stephanie Pierre said even though the bakery's closure is jarring, there may be some good to come out of it.

"Now there will be more attention to what's happening here," she said. "Old homes are knocked down for cheaply constructed buildings. We don't have to lose our culture and identity. It's so upsetting."

Mbonu said there may be a chance to save Lords Bakery in some form, especially since so many people in Flatbush grew up eating their treats. He even said the community can work together to save the business, but they have to find the owner first. 

"Let people know who he is and not stay behind the scenes," Mbonu said. "We would work with him. The community would love to help him."







Megan McGibney

About the Author: Megan McGibney

Megan McGibney is a multi-generational New Yorker who is originally from Staten Island.
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