Alfred State College dual-degree graduate, Jamie Hetzelt, '00 and '01, culinary arts and culinary arts/baking, production and management, is the proud and happy, if sometimes exhausted, owner of the "Sweet Beginnings" bakery which she and husband Darren Wells, (an Erie County Community College Culinary Arts graduate) launched as a celebration of their first wedding anniversary, Sept. 12, 2005.
The shop has seen steady growth in its first year, allowing the young couple to hire a staff of four to help with the demands of the bakery.
The shop sells pastries, cookies, pies, cheesecakes, and, of course cakes of all descriptions. Patrons can also get a cup of coffee, though there is no cafe seating at this time.
"It's been busy, so far," says the happy couple. "In fact, people ask if we're going to do lunches, or soups, and that sort of thing. We're considering expansion, but that's a few years down the road," says Jamie.
Jamie, who snared a first-place ribbon as well as the coveted "Best Bakery" award for her entry of a wedding cake in the 2001 Food Show and Exposition, is most pleased with the wedding cake room, set off from the hustle and bustle of the retail area, where young couples can consult with the talented bakers who shared this same experience short months ago. Their wedding picture hangs on the wall, sanctioning their selection.
Jamie says that Alfred State College helped her determine exactly what it was she wanted to do with her life, and that is bake. The college "helped me ‘hit the ground running' by preparing me for the rigors of baking as well as owning a bakery," Jamie notes.
"Each day, as I enter our bakery, I stop and smile, because I know I'm living my dream, and my experience at Alfred State College played a large role in that accomplishment."