VAN WERT — From the old, ornate door handle with the thumb tab to a decoration on the wall that says, “Relax, it’s just cake,” Simply Irresistible exudes a homey, comfortable vibe.
And that’s just how owner Travis Tribolet likes it.
“I want to be like the everyday bakery where a kid can come in with two bucks and get a couple things,” he said. “I didn’t want a place that people were afraid to come in.”
Van Wert native Tribolet opened the bakery last October in a location that was a former sewing shop. But looking at the building’s history a bit deeper, Tribolet found 229 S. Washington St. was built in 1921 for Washington Street Bakery. This business went out when Butler’s Bakery opened in the 1940s.
“It all just fell into place,” he said. “It’s been a fun endeavor.”
Tribolet has been interested in food his entire life, starting to bake with his grandmothers. In high school, he worked at a local restaurant. A high school home ec teacher encouraged him to try cake decorating, which led to a culinary degree at Pennsylvania Culinary Institute in Pittsburgh.
Because his father has Alzheimer’s disease and his mother uses a wheelchair because of hip issues, Tribolet decided to leave his career in Pittsburgh and return home to help. Once here, he began selling cupcakes out of his home — and the demand led him to decide to open a shop.
If it’s sweet, Tribolet likely has it available. He makes cookies, cake, cupcakes, chocolates, candy, fudge — even chocolate-covered bacon and jalapenos. Cupcakes are $1.25 each or $12/dozen, and he has 108 flavors from which to choose. Lady Rose is flavored with rose petals. The Gin and No Regret is a gin cupcake with tonic-flavored icing. The white cake/white icing is named after Eunice, his mother; and the chocolate cake/chocolate icing is named after Gary, his dad. The Lurpy is the nickname of a college friend who always had a box of Nerds in his hand — so the icing is dipped in Nerds.
“You have to draw from your past, and it’s what I know,” he said. “It’s all been trial. I bake something new every day.”
Not all 108 flavors are available every day; contact the business at 419-771-7297 or on Facebook to make requests. Also, be sure to check out its new website, www.sisweets.com, through which orders for candy may be placed for shipping worldwide. (Tribolet is still trying to perfect the art of shipping cupcakes.)
Tribolet is focused on the community. He welcomes tours, recently opening up the shop for a group of preschoolers, and gives leftovers to charity.
"You make somebody happy. When you’re having a bad day, a cupcake or a piece of candy can put a smile on your face," he said. “I’m doing what I love."
Have a suggestion for who should be featured in this spot? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.