The family owners of Hellas Cakes, a 60-year-old Greek pastry shop in Melbourne, have announced they will sell the business, after the COVID-19 pandemic brought forward their plans to close.
Business owner Peter Laliotis, who took over the business from his father George Laliotis, said plans to close the shop “were on the cards” and the pandemic pushed him to make the decision sooner.
“We’ve come to a point where we’ve said enough is enough and we need to move on, and we’ve decided we’re going to close its doors,” Laliotis told Sunrise.
“Obviously during COVID-19 too, it didn’t make it any easier,” he said.
Iraklis Kenos founded the business in 1962 in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond after learning to make pastry at the age of 12 in Athens.
George Laliotis came on board as Kenos’ business partner after immigrating to Australia in the 1970s. When Kenos left the business, George Laliotis and an employee George Kandaras took over ownership. George Laliotis’ son Peter Laliotis is currently is running the business.
Laliotis said last year was a difficult period because he lost his father and business mentor and the pandemic disrupted trade.
However, Laliotis is optimistic about the future and has plans to travel to Greece as soon as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
Loyal customers have taken to social media to express how much they enjoyed the traditional Hellenic pastries and sweets.
“Congratulations on a such an iconic business. Thank you for supplying our shops for so many years,” one Facebook user commented.
Laliotis’ decision to close the business coincided with Melbourne’s fifth coronavirus lockdown.
Under the two-week lockdown, which is set to lift from midnight tonight, hospitality venues were forced to remain closed unless for takeaway and delivery services.
From midnight tonight, hospitality businesses will be permitted to open for seated service only with a cap of 100 people per venue and group limit of 10. A density quotient of one person per four square metres will also apply.
Hellas Cakes will keep trading until at least September.