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Bakeries Report High Demand For Holiday Sweets

By Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (January 1, 2002 – Pacific Daily News)---The island's economy may have slowed, but people didn't hold back on buying baked sweets throughout the holidays, some island bakery owners said.

Today caps what they said has been a busy season of collectively churning out thousands of pies, cakes, cookies and other holiday treats every day beginning the week of Thanksgiving.

At Elite Bakery, Louella Villo said she was particularly surprised by a surge of customers the day before Christmas.

Villo, whose family owns Elite Bakery, said she expected that sales would slow because of a typhoon watch. But as soon as Guam's skies cleared, she said, people dashed out for last minute shopping for Christmas goodies at the Tamuning bakery.

The robust demand, despite a weakened economy, demonstrates, Villo said, that the spirit of the holiday celebration prevailed over concerns about money.

She said the bakery churned out more than 1,000 pies, cakes, cookies and other baked goodies every day during the busiest days of the holiday season.

''People save something to spend for the holidays,'' Villo said.

Also, Villo said some people have reshaped their views about money after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, which created a feeling of uncertainty.

''What's the use of saving money if it's too late to enjoy it?'' she said.

At Guam Bakery, New Year's Eve yesterday for members of the Oftana family meant having to help make ''silvanas,'' a pastry that the bakery produces only during the holiday season, General Manager Henry Oftana said.

The pastry is made only during the holidays at Guam Bakery because Oftana family members personally make the goodies, a tradition the Oftanas have followed every year for almost three decades, Henry Oftana said.

He said his parents, Tim and Emely Oftana, take the lead in making the holiday pastry.

Many island families also have included the pastry in their holiday party tradition, Henry Oftana said.

The bakery makes a variety of holiday pies and cakes that are found in many grocery stores.

For pies alone, Guam Bakery bakes about 300 each day, he said.

Oftana said Guam Bakery starts to get busy around Thanksgiving. It's been a busy holiday season, he said.

For additional reports from the Pacific Daily News, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Pacific Daily News (Guam).

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