LIMA — When Sara Anderson opened her storefront for Sara's Sweets in December 2015, she had to fight back against a lot of doubt that a specialty bakery would succeed in Lima.
“My contractors were like, ‘What do you think you’re doing? How are you going to make enough money to pay the rent selling $2 cupcakes?’” she recalled. “I still remember even my main contractor, he would come in like once a week and buy cookies in the first couple months, and he was like, ‘Well, Sara, you proved me wrong.’”
Once the store opened at 435 S. Eastown Road, Lima, Anderson said business was booming, almost to a point where they couldn’t keep up.
“Once we opened, we were just much busier than I had projected, so I didn’t have a good team in place. I had a few good people, but we needed like seven or eight, and I only had two,” Anderson said. “The struggle of just trying to get through those first few months was really hard. There’s a few times I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore’ to my husband, and he said, ‘We don’t have to; we could close.’ But I was like, ‘No, we can’t do that.’”
Sara’s Sweets now employs a team of 15 with another five to eight people who come on during December and February, the store’s busiest times. The bakery offers a daily rotating menu of cupcakes, brownies and cookies, as well as made-to-order cakes.
Anderson said the key to her business’s success has been an active social media presence and her outreach into the community.
“One of our missions here is to be able to give back to the community how we can,” she said. “We donate to nonprofits — really any group, if they call and have a justifiable cause to pick up our day-old products, we will give it to them.”
Sara’s Sweets also often holds events or themed days to help raise funds for organizations. In the closing weekend of January, their Llama Day event raised $845 for Neighborhood Relief Ministries, for example.
They’ve also done a Dog Days of Summer for the humane society and a mermaid theme to raise funds for YMCA swimming scholarships.
“I think Lima needed a place like this,” she said. “When people step in here, we want them to feel like they’re taking a 10-minute break from their life.”
The storefront is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.