A Sweet Business Plan

Exeter bakers Kristy Alves, Cassi Alves and Merlena Elliott open The Sweetery in downtown

By Reggie Ellis


EXETER – Like dough in the oven, a trio of talented Exeter bakers are finding that the right mix of ingredients can expand quickly with delicious results.

On Feb. 12, Kristy Alves, Cassi Alves and Merlena Elliott opened the newest edition to downtown Exeter, The Sweetery with an Exeter Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting. The candy, cookie, cupcake and more shop brings together the successful combination of mother-daughter-in-law duo Kristy and Cassi as well as cake maker Merlena. For the Alveses, The Sweetery, 271 E. Pine St., represents their third location on Exeter’s main street with Hometown Emporium, 145 E. Pine St. and Cassandra’s On Pine, 165 E. Pine St.

“We love Hometown [Emporium] but this is something different,” Kristy said. “It’s a place to show our more artistic work without being lost in all of the great things we do at the other shop. This is your one-stop, sweet shop.”

Cassi said The Sweetery appeals to her more creative side as well. She said the smaller location is easier to cool allowing her to do a broader variety of cookies, cupcakes, cake pops, candies, candied apples, macrons and fudge.

“Being able to do more flavor creations, to try new things and having the space to display specialty items is what I’m looking forward to most,” Cassi said.

In addition to larger cookies and fancier cupcakes, Cassi is particularly excited about a brand new product – edible cookie dough. The cookie dough, which comes in a variety of flavors, is egg-free so it is safe to eat raw. Having the new shop has allowed Cassi the perfect place to sell her perfected dough. The Sweetery also offers several gluten free products such as cookies and cupcakes.

“We can really showcase all of our talents when it comes to sweets and fulfill dietary restrictions,” Cassi said. “We will be able to do a lot more customizing here.”

The Sweetery is frosting on top for the Alveses, but owning a business is a slice of heaven for Merlena.

“It was really exciting for me to hold the scissors for my own business,” Merlena said.

usly employed at Hometown Emporium for five years, has been making cakes for weddings and other events at Hometown for the last two years but out of her home for the last seven. She was able to take over most of the custom wedding, birthday and other large cakes to free up Kristy and Cassi’s time to focus on other parts of the expanding business. Merlena will be the main face that greets customers through the door, with Cassi helping occasionally and Kristy providing business support.

Despite the small size of the 300-square foot space, Merlena said she has more room to roll fondant and make larger cakes.

“There is a lot going on at Hometown so there isn’t a lot of room to do any one thing,” Merlena said.

Kristy and Cassi will keep their focus on the deli and bakery at Hometown as well as their catering business, which includes regular breakfasts and lunches as well as special events at Cassandra’s On Pine. The Sweetery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, call 559-594-8688.

The Exeter chamber’s next ribbon cutting will be held tomorrow, March 5 at 10 a.m. for Rocky Hill Yoga & Meditation, located at 430 E. Maple Ave. in Exeter. For more information on Rocky Hill Yoga, call owner Dina Restivo at 559-303-5309.

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