Immigrants from Argentina thrive with Massachusetts-based Golden Cannoli Shells
The company was named by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the “Massachusetts Small Business of the Year.”
Martin Desmarais | 6/11/2014, 1:36 p.m.
The Chelsea, Mass.-based Golden Cannoli Company has received national recognition for its handmade cannoli and fillings by some of the largest distributors and customers in the United States for its handmade cannoli and fillings. This year, the company was named by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the “Massachusetts Small Business of the Year.”
In the mid-1960s, cousins Francesco Bono and Angelo Bresciani traveled to the United States from Argentina with a plan to learn English, start a business and live the American dream. In 1970 after working at various bakeries in Boston’s North End, they secured a storefront and started their first bakery in Arlington, Mass., specializing in coffees and pastries.
Their first bakery was such a success that they soon opened a second. While in their two small storefront bakeries, Bono and Bresciani began making cannoli shells and fillings to supply their stores. These shells became wildly popular, and the cousins began producing larger quantities in a vacant building in Somerville for their own stores and for other local businesses. They named the business Golden Cannoli.
Having only an elementary school formal education, but with the heart, mind and passion of veteran business owners, Francesco and Angelo were inspired by the opportunity and decided to commit their time and energy into creating a sound manufacturing process that could meet the demand of their growing cannoli sales. Purchase orders were placed on an antiquated fax machine, numbers were run with an old-school calculator, the orders came and the cannolis were made with artisan hands, just as they are today.
Today, Chelsea-based Golden Cannoli has received national recognition for its handmade cannoli and fillings by some of the largest distributors and customers in the United States. This year, the company was named the U.S. Small Business Administration “Massachusetts Small Business of the Year.”
Golden Cannoli’s second generation owners, Valerie Bono, Maria Malloy, Eric Bresciani and Edwin Bresciani have been actively clients of the SBA. They took an SBA Express Loan in 2009 for the purchase of equipment upgrades and in 2013 applied for the SBA’s 504 Loan Program to purchase a new 30,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
Malloy joined the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative/e200 program in Boston in 2013 to develop a growth plan for the business, and each owner now works with their own representatives at SCORE to learn, manage and restructure the business to run at maximum efficiencies. SCORE members assist in weekly and monthly meetings and offer advise personally and in groups. Since working with the e200 program and with SCORE, significant changes have been made in the organization structure and with sales opportunities.
With its continued growth and development — 38 percent in 2013 — Golden Cannoli hired 12 employees in 2012 and now has 41 full-time team members in 2014. The estimated growth will support another 10 to 12 employees in the next two years. According to the company, the increase in sales is the result of helping existing businesses sell more cannoli. Also, new product development such as the innovation of cannoli chips and cannoli dips has proved to be a success as well and thus is a percentage of the growth in sales.