Business

Lynn bakery reigns Supreme

LYNN ? If it were possible to gain weight from merely looking at breads and pastries through a glass showcase, the average customer at Supreme Bakery in downtown Lynn would be elephantine.Inside the cozy, colorful, brightly lit shop at 418 Washington, two doors from landmark Cal’s News in Olympia Square, the shelves are laden with delicacies. Honey gleams atop sweet buns sprinkled with walnuts. There are eclairs stuffed with custard, raspberry mousse cake, Brazilian Kindi cookies, coconut macaroons, cappuccino cake, Napoleons, powdered Kouriabie cookies with walnuts, coconut almond cookies, carrot cake, cheese cake, baklava, rum balls, jelly rolls, turnovers.And then there’s the bread: Russian rye, Italian scala, Armenian flat, whole wheat and, of course, the signature Tuscan ciabatta, all of them freshly baked in the big kitchen at the rear of the building.Supreme Bakery is owned by Armenian natives Karlen and Laura Gevorgyan of Lynn, who immigrated from the Russian state of Georgia a dozen years ago. A daughter, Rose Bogossian, had married a Boston jeweler and was living in Salem. Ten years ago, the Gevorgyans moved to nearby Lynn.Karlen Gevorgyan was a lawyer in Russia, but the language barrier kept him from practicing law upon arrival in the U.S. Instead, the couple worked various job, including as bakers.”When Karlen was young, before he went to the university, he worked in a bakery in Georgia, and so he knew how to make bread and pastries. We were married when I was 17,” Laura Gevorgyan said. “In those days, if you wanted to bake, you had to work for a government bakery. It was very difficult. But things changed after Gorbachev because he let people work at the jobs they wanted ? cook, bake, make shoes ? and they would not be in trouble.”The couple eventually opened Karo’s BBQ in Boston, selling chicken kabobs. In 2004, they sold the business, which still exists, and moved to Venice, Calif.”We opened a bakery in Venice, for one year, but there was too much competition,” she said. “We sold our house in California for a profit and decided to come back to Massachusetts, which is our country now. We used the money we made to buy this business.”Back in Lynn, accompanied by their son, Armen, the couple grew the commercial bakery, selling baked goods to restaurants, caterers, nursing homes and other establishments. A few savvy individual customers discovered the place and, cash in hand, would buy a loaf whenever possible.In August, the Gevorgyans bought the property from Frank Schiafano and, two months ago, after major interior renovations, opened the Supreme Bakery storefront.While in California, the couple met another native Armenian, Nara Musaelyan, who along with her son returned with them to Lynn. Like most Armenian women, Musaelyan was taught to cook and bake at an early age and developed a skill for cake design. She also earned a university degree in electrical engineering.”The big sunflower cakes that you see are Nara’s,” Laura Gevorgyan explained. “She is the designer. I do most of the baking of pastries. As an Armenian woman, you learn to be a good cook, a good baker. There is very little work in Armenia so the women keep the house, make the food, and take care of the children.”Laura Gevorgyan personally prefers pastries with honey and walnuts, but customers rave about her carrot cake and turnovers. “Once Americans taste Armenian sweet bread, they love it,” she said with an impish smile.Asked for the secret to her baking success, Gevorgyan said it’s all about passion and following your heart. “Whatever you do in life n a doctor, a lawyer, a baker ? if you want to be the best, it’s the same. You have to do it from your heart. That’s the only way for you to enjoy your life.”Gevorgyan begins each workday at 6 a.m. and doesn’t finish until 7 p.m. The hours are long and the job can be tiring, but for this Armenian artist with an oven, it’s also a joy.Supreme Bakery is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Satur

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