This month, Stacie Blair opened her dream bakery, with help from the Community Loan Fund. Blair closed on a $25,000 term loan to expand her home-based business, The Sugar Fairy Bakes, into a full-scale commercial retail business.
Blair had been scratch baking for 35 years and had always been told she should go into the baking business. She learned the craft from her grandmother, and friends raved about her cakes and bread. However, she says, making a living on her hobby always seemed like an “unreachable dream.” Then, in 2019, she lost her job. Being hearing impaired made it hard to find a suitable replacement, she says, and she finally decided to try to bake for a living. She started The Sugar Fairy Bakes in her kitchen with a NYS home processors license and began selling out at farmers markets and events. When COVID hit, she moved to online sales and local delivery, and that’s when things really took off.
In time, her home kitchen did not have enough capacity to. keep up with her orders and she began to consider opening a commercial location. “The customer demand was high, but without ample refrigeration for storage, and using a residential oven, I could only physically make so much at a time,” says Blair. “A year later I was literally busting at my home’s seams, and I knew the time had come to go brick and mortar.”
She envisioned “a little old fashioned community bakery” where people could come for a cup of coffee and a fresh baked treat or some fresh bread for Sunday supper. “Think Hallmark, and the bakeries in their Christmas movies. That’s my vision for my bakery,” Blair says.
On December 14, Blair opened the doors at her new 5,000 square-foot bakery in Mechanicville, just in time for Christmas. The bakery is located on the busy corner of Park and Central at the site of the former Golden Krust Bagels. The building came outfitted with all the commercial baking equipment and small bakery tools necessary to operate a bakery. “Since I opened the doors, it has been a complete whirlwind. The excitement and support from the community is more than I could have ever imagined. The feedback has been wonderful and my little old fashioned bakery has really been embraced and is already being called a community gem! It’s been several decades since our small town has had a bakery and the community is thrilled that I am here!” says Blair.
“None of this would have been possible without the Community Loan Fund,” says Blair. “I had the business plan. I had the history, the vision, the drive and the ambition, but I didn’t have the funding.”
“The Community Loan Fund made it so I was able to take advantage of the great opportunity I had for an ideal location, with equipment included, and allowed me to proceed forward with my dream,” she says.
Blair is looking forward to continuing what has already been proven to be a busy winter. In the spring she plans to meet customer demand for breakfast and lunch sandwiches – on homemade bread. And moving forward she will establish wholesale accounts and bring back her successful cookie subscription service. “With all that exciting growth, our primary focus will however always be preserving the the old fashion taste and feel of our little community bakery,” says Blair.
The Sugar Fairy Bakes is located at 205 Park Avenue in Mechanicville. www.thesugarfairybakes.com