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By Kimberly Brown
Joe Veneroni is taking the ubiquitous rainbow cookie to entirely new frequencies and wavelengths, with his new Uncle Joey’s Rainbow Explosion in Farmingdale.
Located at 451 Main Street, this bakery is like no other on Long Island.
You’ll find your traditional Italian-American rainbow cookies here, but there’s also the rainbow strawberry shortcakes, rainbow cookie cupcakes, and rainbow cookies with rainbow cannoli filling. Uncle Joey’s also sells cakes and cake jars.
We recently caught up with Veneroni to figure out how this all, well, exploded.
How it happened
As far back as he could remember, Veneroni always wanted to be a baker.
“I’ve been baking since I was 12 years old,” he said. “My brother owned several bakeries on Long Island, so I was kind of taken under his tutelage for pretty much my whole life.”
Up until a few years ago, he was a baking manager for Waldbaums and then ShopRite for 23 years between the two companies.
But he lost his job at the height of pandemic, had to make ends meet, yet still wanted to bake. So he started selling his treats from home.
Shortly after, one of his earliest customers posted a picture of his work on Facebook.
That post gained a ton of attention from Long Islanders, and the possibility of creating a business of his own became a reality.
Cheri Gimpelman, who also counts herself as among Veneroni’s earliest customers, says she now orders from him for every special occasion.
“All my kids have to have the rainbow cookie cake for their birthdays,” she said. “It’s like the law!”
Veneroni started selling around Easter of 2021.
He thought he might be onto something when he kept selling cookies after the holiday spike.
“Valentine’s Day was coming up, and we were really busy, but I thought … next week is the true test,” said Veneroni. “Winter break was coming up, and being in the industry as long as I have, you know that winter break is quiet. But I wasn’t quiet.
“And that’s when I knew.”
So he got licensed, insured, and started selling out of a commercial kitchen.
He had no immediate intentions of opening a storefront, but then a neighbor and local realtor showed him a Main Street spot for rent.
“It was meant to be,” he said. “I came down to the store to see it and told him I’d take it.”
Why he does it
Creativity in baking is important to Veneroni, which is why he’s always concocting new twists on the traditional rainbow cookie. Otherwise, he might get bored.
And he doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.
“My vision is to have all these old-school favorites that I grew up making, but putting a rainbow twist on it,” Veneroni said.
“I’m trying to build more of a staff so I can keep expanding and creating new ideas.”