Hopkin’s story isn’t unique for the customers who frequented Joyce’s Homemade Cookies on Broadway Avenue. One bite of any of Joyce’s 40 different kinds of cookies, rolls or breads and you would instantly understand why thousands of people in and around the Pittsburgh region chose Joyce’s cookies to be the “cookie table” at their wedding or the cookie tray at Christmas.
After being in business for 25 years, Joyce’s Homemade Cookies recently closed its doors late December.
“Joyce’s Homemade Cookies has been a real icon from the Broadway Avenue business community,” said McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation Executive Director Taris Vrcek. “It’s sad to see her go.”
Few would guess Joyce Pecorelli, a Stowe native, is 85-years-old. And, after 50 years of being an entrepreneur, she’s finally throwing in the rolling pin. In 1963, she opened a hair salon on Island Avenue that remained open until 1975. Due to health issues, she closed its doors, but she was back in business again – this time, opening a candy shop.
Her next and final venture spawned from her passion of baking. When she started bringing her now-famous nut rolls around to friends, they encouraged her to start selling them. That’s when Joyce’s Homemade Cookies opened its doors at 647 Broadway Avenue.
Joyce’s Baker, Rosemary Butter, said she met Pecorelli in beauty school.
“Anything she’s ever worked at, she’s been at the top of her game,” said Butter as she concocted cinnamon coconut twists in the bakery. “The magic is in her hands.”
Most of Joyce’s Homemade Cookies were wholesale, with thousands of cookies going out the door to specialty grocery stores, weddings, parties and community events. For many years, Joyce was a familiar face as a vendor at Italian festivals from Ligonier to Bloomfield.
The top-selling cookies included the classics—lady locks and biscotti. Joyce’s also offered a host of unique cookies, such as the “Florentine Lace” – a nutty, crisp cookie drizzled with chocolate and the “Mostaciolli,” a chocolate-nut cookie recipe passed down by her Italian mother.
Customers also had the opportunity to walk inside Joyce’s shop to pick up their favorites. The pantry-like entrance welcomed them with racks of cookie trays filled with colorful and attractive treats.
“Joyce’s Homemade Cookies reminded me of growing up and eating my grandma’s homemade cookies,” said Hopkins.
Pecorelli put a lot of love into her cookies and wanted to share them with everyone. She would graciously offer customers cookies to try – like a grandma feeding her grandkids with delicious homemade treats until their bellies hurt.
And, if there were cookies left over at the end of the day, she would pack them up and send them to the nuns at Sister of Our Lady Charity at Nativity Convent in North Side. Joyce’s cookies could also be found at a number of local fundraising events helping to uplift the community.
Anyone who has ever made authentic Italian cookies and baked goods knows how much time and effort goes into making them. Up until she closed the shop’s doors, Pecorelli worked full-time alongside three paid employees including Rosemary Butter, Robin Sines and Jerry Thompson. Her son and his wife volunteered their time helping out, too.
Pecorelli said if she were any younger – she’d continue baking and running the business. She’d like to say thank you to her husband for his help over the years— especially with the renovations— and to all of her customers for whom she had the pleasure of getting to know over the years.
“I’ve had a lot of good customers and I love to do it. I feel bad leaving,“ she said.
“Joyce is an inspiration to young and old residents of this community alike who have a dream to start their own business,” said Vrcek. “It’s all possible through hard work and your individual creativity.”
Learn more about Joyce’s Homemade Cookies in this Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article.
- Black Forge Coffee under contract for former Chartiers Trust Bank ( July 12, 2018 )
- Sto-Rox attends PSU recruitment camp through MRCDC sponsorship ( July 12, 2018 )
- Sixth annual music, food and art fest set for Sept. 8 ( June 26, 2018 )
- Lend $25 to these Sto-Rox businesses, fund local expansion ( March 15, 2018 )
- Jeb Feldman to launch marquee funder at Mixer with Shakers ( March 15, 2018 )
- McKees Rocks Council President George “Spike” Riel shares the love for Feastival ( August 12, 2017 )
- McKees Rocks Feastival launches music/food lineup for 5th annual fest on Aug. 26 ( August 12, 2017 )
- Local police join forces to add National Night Out event to list of fun Sto-Rox area summer activities ( July 6, 2017 )
- Happy Hour fundraiser set for Aug. 10 benefits Sto-Rox area community development ( June 21, 2017 )
- Sponsors, donations needed for 5th annual McKees Rocks Feastival ( May 3, 2017 )
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- October 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- April 2017
- March 2017
- February 2017
- December 2016
- November 2016
- October 2016
- September 2016
- August 2016
- July 2016
- June 2016
- May 2016
- April 2016
- March 2016
- February 2016
- January 2016
- December 2015
- November 2015
- October 2015
- September 2015
- July 2015
- June 2015
- May 2015
- April 2015
- March 2015
- December 2014
- November 2013