When Carlos and Antônia Gonçalves bought Pierrefitte’s Canelas store, then went bankrupt, in 1996, they had no idea that the brand would now become the leading distributor of Portuguese sweets in Ile-de-France.
Their main product: pastéis de nata, these are small pies covered with puff pastry made in the traditional way. “At first, we started on a whim. If we were to believe it, we probably wouldn’t have done it!” recalls Carlos, who arrived in France in the Saint-Denis region with his parents in 1965. I barely slept one to two hours a night, especially since I worked in real estate in Same time Sales volume increases year after year Customers accumulate – individuals, restaurants and grocery stores Small family business diversifies, providing catering service for trade fairs or banquets.
The couple bought a vacant plot of land on Camélinat Street, not far from the town hall, to build a building there in 2011 with a dining room. The success is still there but the time has come for Carlos and Antonia to retire. Sandra, the eldest daughter, carries the torch. “That’s what I wanted above all else. I didn’t want to sell Canelas.” His little brother is not eager to take over the business. However, he decided to sell his orthopedic practice last year and join Sandra. “I couldn’t have managed it alone, it’s too big a ship,” the latter admits.
At the helm of a company of 40 employees, the siblings perpetuate the family tradition: promoting Portuguese culture and gastronomy. The manufacture and sale of pastries, including 60,000 to 80,000 pastéis de nata per week, represents 41% of its turnover, which is still steadily increasing. “15 years ago, our clients were only Portuguese. Today we are open to everyone! ”, Gilles welcomes.
This prompts the duo to consider a new extension to the historic store. A generation’s chance to prove himself: “I hope one day our parents will say: You took on the job like we used to do. We are so proud of you!”