Bess Eaton Is Back! Coming To Westerly And Pawcatuck

Even Bankruptcy And Tim Hortons Cannot Keep Bess Eaton From The Community That Loves It

It’s official; Bess Eaton is coming back.

And it’s fitting, some might say, that the sign that confirms the much-beloved doughnut shop's return on Oak Street in Westerly and West Broad Street in downtown Pawcatuck is just down the block from the old Gencarelli house kitchen where Angelo “Bangy” Gencarelli and his wife Burnie started the business in the late 1940s.

In 1952 the family opened their first shop, then called Southern Maid, and over the years built the business so that by the late 1990s nearly 50 Bess Eaton shops were in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

But in 2004, under the ownership and direction of son Louis A. Gencarelli, the business went bankrupt in a high-profile federal action that played out on front pages from Boston to New York. That led to an international bidding war with  Canada-based Tim Hortons beating out Dunkin’ Donuts and others to purchase the business for $41.6 million.

All the Tim Hortons shops closed earlier this year, leaving vacant doughnut shops across three states. But in late January, David Liguori of 1 Hamilton Road in Westerly filed incorporation papers with the Rhode Isand Secretary of the State for Bess Eaton Management LLC. It is unclear what, if any, relationship Liguori’s corporation has with Gencarelli.

It was also unclear Saturday if Bess Eaton will return to all the closed Tim Hortons locations in New London County. A former Tim Hortons in South Kingstown, RI was issued a license to operate a baked goods shop under the name Bess Eaton recently by the Town Council there according to town documents.

Calls to Liguori for comment were not immediately returned.

ymwightman@aol.com March 06, 2011 at 02:47 PM
when, WhEn, WHEN????? I can't wait to have a taste of the coffee, I HOPE IT IS THE SAME RECIPE, CAN"T COMPARE TO ANY OTHER...SIMPLY THE BEST!!!
JoAnn Acevedo (Brogno) March 06, 2011 at 03:15 PM
I personally think they should franchise them .........there is enough interest going on . I feel it could work this way they can once again be all over .. Groton, New London , Norwich, Mystic, and of course Wsterly n Pawcatuck !
Jeff McGowan March 07, 2011 at 11:51 PM
Of course everyone remembers how bess baton got its name right? Well back in the day the Eaton family had a daughter named Elizabeth who love to eat and bake. Well the family came upon hard times as the father lost his job and feeding a family of 13 was no easy task. So one day as the children were in the back playing and dad reading the Sunday paper, Elizabeth came out back eating a fresh batch of donuts she had just baked. That's it! The father cried, we'll open a donut shop with little Bessie as our trademark and call it Bess Eaton Doughnuts! Hurry the legend returns!!
Ron April 14, 2011 at 07:30 AM
Jeff sorry but you have no clue as to how bess eaton got its name. Bangy's dad was eating a donut from Southern Maid which they owned and remarked this is the Bes' eatin donut I have ever had. In in that brief moment the name was born.
Jared February 18, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Just drove to westerly from mystic where my family is on vacation and left the hotel early to surprise my wife with bess eaton coffee but was sad to see the one in mystic was gone . We used to have one in Torrington ct and look forward to are trips down to the south West corner of the state . It's one of are guilty pleasures . PLEASE COME BACK TO TORRINGTON !!!!


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