PELHAM, N.Y. -- Michele Domenici was only looking to rent a commercial kitchen. What she ended up with instead is a full-service sweet shop offering everything from rainbow-colored M&Ms to festive cakes to birthday party extravaganzas.
June 5 marks the one year anniversary of Simply Sweetz and the Pelham resident's first foray into life as a business owner. She will be celebrating, along with the rest of the town, with Pelham's block party on Saturday and a whole lot of "sweet" treats (think cupcake wars, face painting, characters, etc.)
Born and raised in New Rochelle, Domenici said she started baking 10 years ago when her eldest was born. That soon mushroomed into customized birthday parties that friends and friends of friends asked her to duplicate for them.
"I was just doing it for fun," she said. "I never thought it would be a business."
She also started offering her cakes to area restaurants who were looking for something different. Before she knew it, she was beyond busy, baking and planning parties.
And so, she began scouting Pelham for a location. "I was just looking to rent a kitchen," she said, "But then I realized I could do more than that."
She started using her new space (the former Lola's Tea House) to bake cakes but little by little added rows of candy, gift items, and additional cookies and pastries. In-house parties gradually became another part of her business.
Now, she said, she's a one-stop party shop, supplying sweet 16's, bar and bat mitzvahs, communions and more. Many of her bigger events are off-site, though she does birthday parties up to 12 in the store and for almost any age.
The key to her success, she said, is that everything is customized. "If a mom comes in and says 'Here's my situation,' we work with her,'" said Domenici, herself a mom of three.
She said she never thought she'd be where she is today. "The year flew by," she said. "I never imagined it. My vision was much smaller than what this has turned out to be, but thank goodness, the town has embraced us."
Simply Sweetz is at 130 Fifth Ave., (914) 738-CAKE, www.simplysweetzboutique.com/ .