Jean-Jacques Bakery, the European-style bakery that has operated in the heart of Carytown for more than 36 years, has closed after the husband-wife owners died this month within a day of each other.
A notice on the store in the Cary Court Park & Shop said the bakery is permanently closed. Another note said Jozef Bindas, who had worked there since it opened, and his wife, Emmanuelle Bindas, both had died.
Jozef Bindas, the bakery’s master chef when it opened in December 1983 who bought the shop in 2006, died on June 16, according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise money for his two adult daughters, Liliana Bindas and Claudia Muth, to help pay for funeral and memorial service expenses. He was in his mid-60s at the time of his death.
Emmanuelle Bindas, 41, died on June 17, according to funeral home J.T. Morriss & Son’s website.
No cause of death was listed on the GoFundMe page or on the funeral home’s website.
His daughters, through a family friend, have asked for privacy at this time.
Jean-Jacques Bakery was well known for its pastries, breads, Italian specialties, specialty cakes and wedding cakes.
The popular bakery carried more than a dozen kinds of breads including French baguettes. Wedding cakes represented about 40% of the bakery’s business in 2014.
Clement Denicourt opened the bakery in 1983 with aid from the owners of Bread Oven, a restaurant and bakery on Dupont Circle in Washington. Denicourt took full ownership of Jean-Jacques in 1987.
In 2006, Denicourt sold Jean-Jacques to Jozef Bindas.
“It will be the same quality and the same atmosphere,” Denicourt said in a 2006 Richmond Times-Dispatch article. “The legacy will continue.”
Bindas said in the same article that no changes were planned. “My thing is being in the back and producing things to make sure everything stays the same.”
Bindas, who started training as a pastry chef in his native Belgium in the mid-1960s, said at the time that he had always wanted to own his own bakery.
“At the young age of 13, after an apprenticeship under a French master baker, he fell in love with the art of pastry and bread making. Jozef traveled the world learning from the best,” the GoFundMe page said. “He truly loved making beautiful and delicious treats for his local Richmond community to enjoy.”
After finishing culinary school, Jozef Bindas worked as a master chef in Belgium and Germany. He began working at Jean-Jacques the same year he moved to the U.S.
The couple married in 2011.
The notice saying the bakery is permanently closed was posted Sunday afternoon and said the business is part of the estate of Emmanuelle Bindas. James C. Yule, an accountant with Don Anderson & Associates, a Colonial Heights tax and accounting firm, said he is the administrator for her estate and he is the executor for Jozef Bindas’ estate.
“It is a very sad situation ... having a husband and wife pass away at the same time,” Yule said Monday.
At some point in recent years, Emmanuelle Bindas became the sole owner of the bakery, Yule said.
It had closed temporarily in March because of the coronavirus pandemic and was preparing to reopen, he said.
Emmanuelle Bindas had worked for an Italian food distributor and was a caterer before moving to Richmond. The New Jersey native was working for the food distributor Sysco in 2008 when she met Jozef Bindas. Before they were married, she was known as Emmanuelle Minoli.
Jozef Bindas’ oldest daughter, Liliana, followed in her father’s footsteps and is a professional baker and pastry chef at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s executive dining room. The youngest daughter, Claudia, specializes in wine and beverage sales.
“As a close friend of the family, and a fellow Carytown business owner, I am asking our friends, family, and local community to please help his daughters during this extremely difficult time by donating,” Aisha Eqbal, the manager of the Ten Thousand Villages store, wrote on the GoFundMe campaign website.
“The cost of funeral expenses and preparation of a memorial service is a cumbersome financial struggle, on top of the emotional distress that they are currently going through,” she wrote.
Liliana Bindas said on GoFundMe that she and her sister have offered to give a percentage of the donations back to the Carytown community. “We would like to give back to Carytown. That place was like a second home to us, just as much as it was his.”