Ruth Ann and Bryan Lewis officially opened Sweet Arts Bakery on Thursday Feb. 12 on Main Street, expanding their business from its original location in Avon, New York. The success of the Avon shop motivated the Lewis’ to move on the former Genesee Valley Florist location next to Mama Mia’s when it freed up last year. An avid baker, Ruth Ann decided to start the business with her husband a little over three years ago. With support from the community, the couple has been able to share their passion of baking with others across Livingston County.
Expanding into Geneseo gives the business an opportunity to bring in foot traffic from the college, as opposed to just depending on loyal customers in Avon.
“Ruth Ann does very well with her specialty cakes and orders, but the college community here provides a constant stream of business,” Sweet Arts manager Billy O’Donnell ‘14 said.
O’Donnell added that things have been great during the first few weeks, and that the community has embraced the bakery and shown support. “Things are going really well, but we hope to expand once the cold [subsides] and we have signage on the front entrance,” he said.
The shop currently provides between 15 and 20 item options to its customers which, according to O’Donnell, stick to the store’s promotion of baked goods and breads. The bakery also offers a variety of “Nathan’s Soups,” which hail from a business in Western New York.
“Everything—including the coffee—is local,” O’Donnell said. “We either baked it ourselves or we got it locally to support local businesses.” These baked goods include but are not limited to pastries, brownies, cookies, cake pops and specialty drinks.
As for the atmosphere, the shop is open and light. Large windows line the front wall and the high ceiling gives the allusion of space. High wooden tables and leather armchairs provide seating for costumers.
“It’s very cool,” senior Lauren Hollasch said. “They kept the old brick, which was unique, yet everything is new, clean and comfortable. The workers were so friendly and gave me recommendations on what to get.”
O’Donnell expressed his excitement toward the opening of Crickets Coffee Company as well, saying he views it as healthy competition that caters to the needs of different customers.
“There is more than enough room on Main Street for baked goods and coffee. Everyone needs a good coffee place, and why not have two,” he said. “I’ve heard great things about them and about us. I think we’ll both be just fine in Geneseo.”
O’Donnell emphasized his optimism regarding the future success of Sweet Arts Bakery as a Main Street business.
“We don’t want it to be a ‘college’ place, we want it to be an ‘everyone’ place,” he said. “We want people to be able to come here and connect, whether it is with their homework, themselves or with a friend.”