Biga Bakery Will Be Sold to Fella and Jane Cecilio

By IAN FEIN

After fulfilling Island residents with its signature bread, fresh coffee and famous breakfast sandwiches for almost a decade, Biga Bakery next week will close its doors for good.

Owners Beth Kramer and Douglas Reid are selling the West Tisbury landmark and business to Jane and Fella Cecilio of Vineyard Haven.

Mr. Reid said this week that Thursday will be his final day behind the Biga counter. The sale is expected to close the following week, and Mrs. Cecilio said yesterday they hope to reopen the business as a year-round establishment named Fella's by the end of the month.

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Mr. Reid said it was a difficult decision to sell the business, but that he and Ms. Kramer, his wife, had no other option. Ms. Kramer has been bravely battling cancer since the spring.

Biga began in 1993 as a wholesale bakery that Ms. Kramer operated out of several Island homes. She and Mr. Reid married shortly before opening their store location, which combined the bakery business with a deli, in 1996.

Mr. Reid said they plan to stay on the Island in their West Tisbury home. He said he does not know what type of job he will take next, and that his top priority is helping his wife with her health.

He said he wanted to thank his customers and the Island community for their ongoing support.

"The customers have been phenomenal," Mr. Reid said. "They have been unbelievably supportive on all levels - of our business and of Beth."

Mr. Reid also wished the Cecilios the best of luck with their new business.

The Cecilios will take over the lease of the store, which is located next to the West Tisbury post office. The building is owned by Steven Bernier of Cronig's Market. Mr. Reid chose not to discuss the amount of the sale.

In some ways the change marks the end of an era in North Tisbury, where less than a year ago Humphreys owners Mike and Donna Diaz were forced out of their site further up State Road when their lease was not renewed. The Diazes took over their bakery the same year Biga opened.

Mrs. Cecilio said she and her husband, who together own and operate Fella Caters, plan to sell breakfast sandwiches akin to Mr. Reid's. She said they will also offer specialty deli sandwiches, but will not sell wholesale breads or extensive baked goods.

She said that, over time, they plan to introduce hot paninis and possibly pizza. Other offerings will include soup, chili, chowder, quiche and salads.

Mrs. Cecilio said she and her husband will continue their catering business, which they established in 1984, and that Fella's brand salsa and barbeque sauce will still be available in Island stores. But she said that the West Tisbury location is a dream come true.

"We've had our eyes open for a couple years, and this was perfect," Mrs. Cecilio said. "We didn't want a seated restaurant. We really wanted something small."

Mr. Reid said Mr. Cecilio contacted him the day a real estate listing for the business hit the paper.

Mrs. Cecilio praised Mr. Reid and Ms. Kramer yesterday, and said she hopes to continue the relationships they had with their customers. But she admitted that there might be a slight learning curve.

"Doug knows everyone on a first-name basis and knows exactly what they want when they walk in the door. It's amazing," Mrs. Cecilio said. "It'll probably take a while to do that. So people might have to bear with us on that."