When Carlos and Antônia Gonçalves bought Canelas store in Pierrefitte, 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 little pies covered in puff pastry are made in the traditional way. “At first, we started on a whim. If we thought, maybe we didn’t! Carlos, who arrived in France in the Saint-Denis area with his parents in 1965, remembers I hardly slept one to two hours a night, especially since I worked in real estate in Same time Sales volume increases year by year Customers accumulate – individuals, restaurants, grocery stores Small family business is diversified, providing catering service for trade fairs or banquets.
The couple purchased a vacant plot on rue Camélinat, not far from the town hall, to build a building there in 2011 with a restaurant room. The success is still standing but the retirement hour has come for Carlos and Antonia. Sandra, the eldest daughter, carries the torch. “That’s what I wanted above all else. I didn’t want to sell the Canelas.” His little brother isn’t keen on taking on the business. However, he decided to sell his orthopedic clinic last year and join Sandra. “I couldn’t manage it on my own, it’s a very big ship,” the latter admits.
At the head of a company of 40 employees, the brothers perpetuate the family tradition: the promotion of Portuguese culture and gastronomy. The manufacture and sale of pastries, including 60,000 to 80,000 pastries de nata per week, accounts for 41% of its turnover, which is still constantly increasing. “15 years ago, our clients were only Portuguese. Today we are open to everyone!”, welcomes Jill.
This prompts the duo to think of a new extension to the historic store. Jill’s chance to prove himself: “I hope our parents will say one day: You took on the task as we used to. We are proud of you!”