A little less than a year ago, there was only one independent bakery in Genesee County. As of yesterday, there are six.
The latest to open is Sweet Ecstasy, next to the Stafford Trading Post, in Stafford. Above are Tonisha Price, Carla Price, Ginny Robins and Debra Ingham. In the store, Sweet Ecstasy offers cookies and pastries and takes special orders for cakes and other baked dessert items.
Sweet Ecstasy took over the former location of Heavenly Sweets • Deli, which has moved to the corner of routes 63 and 19 in Pavilion. Heavenly Sweets offers pastries, bread and cakes, as well as a fully stocked deli counter. Pictured are owner Bonnie Totten, lower center, Peggy Ellis, left, Caitlyn Meeder and Sherif Woodworth.
The first of Genesee County's current six bakeries is Greg'ry's in Bergen.
Greg'ry's was opened 17 years ago by Diane Cunningham. It was started nearly 20 years ago by Gregory Stefl, who sold it to Diane Cunningham. She sold it two years ago and then reacquired the bakery just two weeks ago.
Her new partner, Maura Schaffer (unfortunately, not in today when I dropped by unannounced) has created a line of all-natural pet treats. The bakery still carries a full line of breads, pies, cakes and pastries.
The trend of new bakeries started with Mary Margret Ripley opening up Scratch Bakery in Le Roy (on Main Street, sharing space with Java's). Scratch does most of its business special order, though there's usually cookies and scones (one Ripley's specialities) available in the store. Ripley also has a number of wholesale customers and sells items at local festivals. Customers can order a full line of cakes, cup cakes, pastries, cookies and bread. Ripley also offers home delivery.
Michelle's Bakery and Cafe opened in February on West Saile Drive, Batavia. Michelle said the bakery specializes in old-fashioned pastries, "like grandma used to make." It's a full-service bakery and owner Michelle Farina, left, said the shop can make a decorated sheet cake for any special occasion. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch and offers sandwiches, wraps, salads and soups. Farina also offers catering. Pictured with Michelle are Samantha McDonald, Cassandra Hirsch and Liz Fenton.
The second newest bakery is Buttercrumbs Bakery in Corfu. Owner Darlene Miller, right, said she researched more than 100 bakeries, including some as far away as Florida, before coming up with a business plan. The shop, right in the Village of Corfu, has a seating area and offers pastries, pies and bread as well as cakes on special order. Miller said the closing of the village grocery store created a real opportunity for her and local residents have responded enthusiastically to the new business. "Corfu has never had anything like this before," said Miller, a longtime resident. Pictured with Miller is Julie Patterson.
It's perhaps just coincidence that I finally got around to putting this post together (I started planning on it back when there were only four bakeries) on the same day my dad is arriving from California for a weekend visit. I grew up in the bakery business and have always loved what a good, independent bakery can produce.
The baked goods at the chains can never match what a good independent bakery makes. Genesee County is now blessed with six quality local bakeries. As consumers, we need to be sure to support them. Entrepreneurs like these owners are what make a community strong and prosperous.