When Swanton residents are asked what type of business they would like to see in town, a bakery and a coffee shop are both frequently near the top of the list. So the announcement of CK Sweets Coffee and Bake Shop should make many people happy.
Cat Kania hopes to open the coffee and bake shop at 95. S. Main St. in the village in late fall or early winter. The Switchback Crossing Cafe is currently located at the site, but the owners had previously purchased the former Elks Lodge, a larger space, farther north on Main Street.
CK Sweets Coffee and Bake Shop is slated to specialize in sweet treats such as cupcakes, cookies, muffins, brownies, scones, and sweet rolls. There will also be an espresso bar.
“For years, I have heard constantly about a desire for a coffee shop and bakery on Main Street. There have been several attempts to bring one here, and for various reasons they have not come to fruition,” said Neil Toeppe, Swanton Area Chamber of Commerce President. “I couldn’t be more excited for CK Sweets commitment to Swanton and the reinvigoration of Main Street. These folks are wonderful, and I can’t wait to be a regular customer.”
Although the coffee and bake shop will be a new venture, Kania is by no means new to baking. She started with her mother when she was a child.
“I have always loved it, and I would make treats for my friends’ birthdays. As I grew older, my family, coworkers, and friends would ask me to bring the dessert to events,” she said. “It eventually spread that I was the ‘cake lady,’ and I started getting calls from people I barely knew asking me to make something for their special event.”
In 2008, her baking went from a hobby to a small side business out of her home. Now, Kania, a Technical Sergeant who serves as a Security Forces member, assigned to the 180th Fighter Wing, is outgrowing a custom order home-based bakery, having to turn away potential orders.
“Opening a storefront is something I have wanted to do and talked about doing for years,” she said. “However, the timing was never right due to multiple overseas deployments between my husband and I.”
They actually considered purchasing the business at 95 S. Main St. when it became available in 2016.
“But I was preparing for a deployment and we knew it wasn’t a good time,” said Kania. “When we found out we had another opportunity to get into that building later this year, we knew that it was meant to be and we couldn’t pass it up a second time.
“I am approaching retirement from the Air Force in the next couple years, and we felt this would be a great time to open a shop. My husband finally told me if I wanted to make this dream into a reality, I needed to pursue it and see if it was something we would be able to do.”
There is a long list that needs to be completed before an opening including the important step of taking possession of the building. The Kanias must also finish purchasing equipment, create a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for guests, and hire and train baristas and kitchen employees.
“We are extremely excited to finally be able to open this business in the town we have grown to love in the six years that we have lived here,” Kania said. “We hope that the residents of Swanton will be patient and understanding that my husband and I are not experts at running a coffee and bake shop. We are just two career military personnel that decided to follow our dream, and my passion. We anticipate some hiccups, but we will do our best and hope to make Swanton proud!”
Those interested can visit www.cksweets.com for more information on current offerings.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise