Friends Tiaira Lee and Ashley Adkison have known each other for a long time. About a year-and-a-half ago, the duo started Sweet Beet Bakery, a pastry/cake catering business in Adkison's commercial kitchen on her farm in River Falls. But when the pair saw the bakery at 137 S. Knowles Ave. in New Richmond was for sale, they knew it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.
"We've known each other forever, so when she got the commercial kitchen I thought it was a great opportunity to start a side business. We knew when we saw the location here that it was a very much wanted location and a great opportunity," Lee said. "The community is great and everyone has been really excited. It has been a little overwhelming."
The pair open will open their new location on Wednesday, Aug. 22, and plan to be open from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Sweet Beet offers pastries and breakfast options, but will also work on custom cakes at the new store.
"The plan, right now, is to slowly roll out product over the next six months," Adkison said. "As customers let us know about what they think about our hours, we will adapt them to better serve the community. We want this to be our main hub for all of our business."
Adkison and Lee got their first exposure to the New Richmond community when they ran a sidewalk sale of their pastries and other baked goods during this year's Fun Fest. According to Adkison, the pair ran out of goodies in about an hour.
"We wanted to find a community where we could establish deep roots in," Lee said. "We love River Falls, but this new location still allows us to do business in River Falls, but also gives us a great new area to work in and a new community to get to know."
One of the goals at Sweet Beet Bakery is to offer the freshest and highest quality baked goods possible, with every item they offer being baked from scratch.
"We really wanted to offer things made from scratch. Things that you can't necessarily get anywhere with all the processed ingredients you find most places now," Adkison said. "As far down as we can go on a recipe, we will go as scratch as we possibly can."
In addition to baking from scratch, Sweet Beet Bakery will also offer many gluten free items, as well as baked goods that people with many other allergies can enjoy.
"My husband is a celiac, so my baking and cooking skills got reinvigorated when I started dating him since he has a very limited amount of things he can eat and he can't really go to restaurants. We have to go to the store and check labels all the time. But his cravings for things are still there," Adkison said. "After a while, I started to think that I could probably make things he could eat myself. After a few failed experiments, there is probably nothing we can't do, as far as gluten free. That opened up a whole other avenue for us with other types of specialty requests, like egg free or vegan items."
When it comes to gluten free and other allergy friendly baked goods, Adkison said, most stores charge way too much for something that should be affordable for everyone, no matter if they have an allergy or not.
"We actually do not increase prices on gluten free items. Some things might get a small increase just because of the specialty ingredients, but we order in bulk intentionally so we can maintain those prices so that there aren't price hits for people with allergies," Adkison said.
The business - which will continue to do catering, weddings and custom orders - currently just consists of Adkison and Lee, but they have plans to expand and hire more people in the future.
For more information on Sweet Beet Bakery, visit sweetbeetbakery.com or find it on Facebook.