George’s Bakery began in the early 1920’s when a young man, George Cherabie, emigrated from Lebanon, (which was then included in the Syrian province) and opened a Lebanese bakery to introduce the flavors of his homeland to American taste buds. He made the bread in small batches by hand and baked them in an intensely heated oven to make his ethnic bread. Each corner in the industrial city of Lawrence had many different ethnic shops- from butchers, to small markets, to restaurants, bakeries, shoe cobblers and clubs. With the Lebanese bread, he also made zaatar (a thyme, sumac and sesame bread). During the Great Depression, he would deliver bread to poor families who had little money to keep families fed. He expected no money from those who could not pay and through it all he gained much respect in the community.
When he passed, he left the bakery to his nephew George Cherabie since he had no children. George also emigrated from Lebanon to take over. Here he met his future wife, Adelle Nader, and they both worked diligently and continued his uncle’s commitment to providing jobs and help to other families. They were also the first to start delivery routes to stores where Lebanese bread became more popular. They also added meat and spinach pies to sell as well as other fresh Mediterranean goodies. By this time, restaurants, sub shops, and pizza stands began implementing the bread and making nutrition wraps.
When George and his wife wanted to retire their son-in-law, Emile Maroun, and his daughter Georgette took over. They wanted to expand the bakery to include imported groceries, olive, cheese, grains, nuts, seeds, and more baked products. They expanded the bakery at Hampshire Street in Lawrence, MA and stayed there for over 20 years. In that time they started producing home made pita chips, prepared Lebanese food and pastries. Their children George, Emile Jr., and Jennifer were a vital part of the business. They grew up helping after school – from packing bread, waiting on customers, stocking shelves, and cleaning. They all went on to college, received degrees, but still had their roots in the business.
George’s Bakery family opened a tahini manufacturing plant in 1998 and moved both businesses to a larger location in Methuen, MA. From its humble beginnings, George’s Bakery has grown to a thriving specialty shop with a variety of delicious natural foods and groceries. Online shopping is also available and a new section of fresh baked European pastries in now available.
At the present time, George, Emile Jr., and Jennifer Maroun are bringing their family’s bakery to the next level, but it is an accomplishment in itself that the business is now in its fourth generation of family ownership.