The Livingston County Chamber of Commerce announced Sweets Arts Bakery as a finalist for the Business in Excellence Award for the 2016 Downtown Business of the Year, next to Jane’s Pantry and winner, Nunda Family Pharmacy. Sweet Arts Bakery is a cozy, sweet smelling bakery located on 95 Main St. that opened over a year and a half ago. Originally founded as a small family business in Avon nearly five years ago by Ruth Ann Lewis and her husband, Sweet Arts has grown to be a successful local business. Due to the heavy pedestrian traffic, however, Sweet Arts opened a second location in Geneseo. The move provided a surge of business, as its storefront appeal attracted many more customers.
“The business grew a lot bigger than I had originally planned,” Lewis said. “But it ended up working out.”
Observing a gap in the market for custom made cakes, Lewis found herself developing the original Sweet Arts bakeshop in Avon. At the time, this was convenient because of its proximity to Lewis’ home and small operation style. Sweet Arts, however, eventually grew into a more extensive store that offered coffee, cookies, cinnamon rolls and other treats.
Although she has a degree in business, Lewis doesn’t just focus on the corporate side of things. The bakery is alternatively focused on building a strong community and serving as a place for people to relax.
“I love seeing people come in and connect,” Lewis said. “I wanted to make Sweet Arts a place where people can come and study or just have a cup of coffee with a friend.”
Lewis’ focus on community reveals a great deal about her character, as it continually impacts the way Sweet Arts Bakery runs. Determined to make Geneseo a better, friendlier place, she successfully developed a comfortable space that makes students feel more at home in the midst a college atmosphere that can sometimes feel foreign.
The concept of providing a getaway for students resonated with her own family. As a mother of two college-aged children, she hopes that they can also find a place that feels like home on their respective campuses.
“I really wanted to provide my kids with valuable life experiences and have them understand what it’s like to run a business with people skills in mind,” Lewis said.
Lewis originally strove to set a good example and initiate work experience for her kids, but that meant putting aside her passion to bake cakes—which started at a very young age. Near the cash register stands a framed photo of herself as a six-year-old dabbling with cooking supplies in the kitchen.
Lewis’ combination of skills as a small business owner and a parent have molded Sweet Arts into a flourishing business, while also maintaining its cozy atmosphere and all the treats it has to offer.