Theresa Vasselo was born in 1951 to Italian immigrants that settled in the Norwood area of McKees Rocks. Growing up in an Italian household, the love of cooking and baking, along with hard work and dedication to family, was instilled in her throughout her childhood.
Her first job was in 1967 at the former Park Bakery in West Park, Stowe Township. It was here that she gained experience in a retail bakery business, as well as learned how to make and decorate cakes.
Soon after, Theresa started baking and decorating all occasion and wedding cakes for friends and family. She also started making homemade candy for the holidays in her McKees Rocks home. While raising her four children, she and her husband, Nicholas, expanded the business to making the many traditional Italian cookies that her family brought over from Italy.
By the late 1980's, she was operating a fully functional commercial business out her home. Once retail stores started to notice Theresa's talents, the business expanded. Among the first retail stores to purchase her products for resale was Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, Leonard Labriola Italian Markets, and Shadyside Market. To this day, you could still find Theresa's products in these stores, as well as many others throughout Western Pennsylvania.
With the support of her husband, and the help of her family and close friends, Theresa moved the business out of her home to her current Broadway location and established Theresa's Italian Bakery in Stowe Township in 1994. The business continued to grow, and she became a very active supporter of the McKees Rocks community as well as surrounding municipalities. She was often seen in parades as well as community fairs held throughout the year.
With the business success, Theresa also made family a priority. It wasn't uncommon to see Theresa with any one of her children or her grandchildren on a daily basis.
Regrettably, Theresa was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) in 2009 at the age of 57. Despite the grim diagnosis, Theresa continued to run the business until her illness prevented her from being at the bakery full time. Fortunately, because of her loyal employees and her devoted husband, her legacy has been carried on despite Theresa's passing in January 2013.
To this day, the traditions and values that inspired Theresa to open the business are deeply rooted in the core values and mission of Theresa's Italian Bakery. It is in Theresa's honor that the bakery remains a strong pillar within the community.