SOUTHINGTON — A local baker who outgrew her home-based business is working to start a shop in Plantsville early next year.
Blair Gianatti started a home business baking cookies and cakes shortly before the pandemic. She’s built a strong following since starting what she’d thought might be a side gig and now needs more space and amenties.
Gianatti said baking has always been a passion. Her education is in pastry and food management and she’s worked for hotels, catering services, Roger’s Orchards and a Cheshire cake shop, Ana Parzych Cakes.
“I started baking when I was two with my grandmother. My grandmother was like Betty Crocker,” Gianatti said. “I’ve loved it ever since.”
Blair Gianatti and her husband Joe Gianatti are looking to open Endless Sweets at 69 W. Main St. in Plantsville center in mid January. Their bakery will be adjacent to Lion’s Den Coffee Shop.Missing the kitchen
Blair Gianatti’s first pastry job was with Ana Parzych whom she’d begged to give her a job starting when she was 15. A year later Parzych agreed to hire her and Blair Gianatti worked there until after college. She credited Ana and Garry Parzych with developing her as a baker.
“They truly showed me the ropes of everything,” Blair Gianatti said.
She got a job with Heritage Hotel in Southbury managing the office side of the kitchen. While she appreciated the predictable hours of a desk job, Blair Gianatti said she missed baking.
“Six months into beginning (that job) I thought, ‘I miss being in the kitchen,’” she said. “I just want to bake again.”
Around that time she heard about the cottage food license, a state law that allows people to sell food prepared in their home kitchens if they abide by certain health and cleanliness standards. Southington has approved several such businesses and gave Blair Gianatti her approval in 2018.Custom cookies
Decorated cookies customized to the occasion are the bulk of Blair Gianatti’s business. She’ll talk with customers about what they want and while she’ll reuse designs, cookies will be made specifically for each event or occasion.
While she’d expected business to be hit hard by the pandemic, quite the opposite happened. With only small gatherings taking place, Blair Gianatti found more and more orders coming in as people wanted to make those smaller events as special and unique as possible. She’s also been doing cookie orders for companies with logos or even business cards on them.
With the business growing, Blair Gianatti started looking for a small space in town and found one in Plantsville only a few streets away from her home. The building on West Main Street is owned by Dean Michanczyk, owner of Dean’s Stove and Spa and a Plantsville property owner.
He recently renovated the building which also houses Lion’s Den Coffee Shop and was glad to see a complimentary business moving in as well.
“I think it goes together with everything we have down there,” Michanczyk said. “She doesn’t need a huge space. It’s the next step for her and I think it works out.”
The cottage food license doesn’t allow Blair Gianatti to sell items that require refrigeration, limiting her to cakes with particular types of icing. With a commercial kitchen and accompanying license, she’ll be able to offer cheesecake, fruit tarts and more.
Starting a brick-and-mortar location is a leap and one that Blair Gianatti said she wouldn’t have made without a strong response from customers of her home-based business.
“There is no way I would have been able to think about opening a shop if it wasn’t for the cottage food license,” she said.