LIMA — Beauty by Jill and Sara’s Sweets are the finalists for the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce’s woman-owned business of the year award, which recognizes businesses in the area that are majority woman-owned.
The winner will be announced at the Lima/Allen Chamber’s banquet to be held at the University of Northwestern Ohio Event Center this evening.
Beauty by Jill
Jill Bakies-Lewis opened Beauty by Jill five years ago this April. Lewis had been working as a cosmetologist for 15 years, but she decided it was time to open a salon of her own.
“I wanted to create a one-stop location for all beauty services,” Lewis said.
The salon and spa offers all hair services, manicures, pedicures, facials, massages, makeup and private spa parties. Lewis also opens the salon for special princess parties and she runs a beauty bootcamp for young girls each summer.
“It’s been pretty fulfilling,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to the future of the business, and my greatest accomplishments are yet to come.”
Lewis is active in the community too. She’s chair of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce board of directors and member of the Lima Young Professionals networking group. She’s also on the board for the promotions and marketing committee for Downtown Lima Inc., and the advisory board for Ohio State Beauty Academy, and is an active member in the Junior Service League.
Sara Anderson always wanted to open a bakery of her own, so in 2012 she took a risk and started baking from home. While still employed full-time as a teacher, Anderson grew her home business until she was able to open a storefront on Eastown Road in 2015. Sara’s Sweets has since expanded and now employs 17 employees, all women.
Anderson encountered skepticism as she transitioned her bakery from a part-time gig to a full-time venture. She recalls people who would ask how a bakery could be successful.
“That was frustrating, but it just fueled the fire to prove them wrong.”
Anderson said it took “a lot of work, a lot of hustling (and) a lot of pushing through hard times” to turn Sara’s Sweets into what it is today.
“We’re an all-women team,” Anderson said. “They’re the ones who put in a lot of the work and help me see my ideas out. If we have a good idea, they’re good at executing it.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.