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Sweet Simone's Feels Like Home for Both Its Customers and Owners

By Pamela Sosnowski

For over five years, Sweet Simone's in downtown Richmond has been offering customers a reprise from skiing or sightseeing in northern Vermont with its array of freshly baked goods and brewed coffee and tea.

For owner Lisa Curtis (her middle name is Simone) opening up her own bakery in 2012 was daunting, but also an ideal career direction for the wife and mother of two.

"I was a young mom when my husband and I decided to take the plunge and open the bakery," she said. "I was inspired to just try and see how it goes. An opportunity presented itself and I knew there would never be a perfect time, so why not?"

Sweet Simone's is a full-scale bakery and cafe serving cakes, pies, morning pastries, breads, tartlets, and more. Although the selections vary with seasonal ingredients, all products are made from scratch daily and contain local and organic ingredients when possible. The bakery also makes full-sized dessert and specialty cakes for birthdays, showers, and other events, as well as cupcakes by the dozen. Everything may also be ordered in larger quantities with advance notice.

Five basic cake batters are readily available at all times: vanilla, chocolate, almond, carrot, and Curtis's personal favorite, coconut. With a selection of five icings and seven filling choices, the flavor combinations for custom cakes are endless.

Curtis was familiar with the food industry, having grown up with a trained chef for a brother and a mother who loved spending time in the kitchen. Today, the bakery is literally her home away from home, and her parents often lend her a hand whether they're taste testing a product, painting a wall, or helping her with organizing.

"The bakery is a place where my family and friends feel comfortable enough to come behind the counter and into the kitchen to find me," she said. "My husband comes in every morning before heading to work to get some coffee, say good morning, and chat with all the staff. My girls (now six and nine) get off the bus right in front of the shop, walk in, grab themselves a treat, and then grab a seat by hopping onto the big rolling sugar and flour bins to eat."

For those that don't have a sweet tooth, Sweet Simone's is venturing into full-meal territory by offering Monday Night Eats. For $25, customers receive a selection of appetizers and the main course, available for dining in or to take out. A recent Monday Night Eats menu featured Thai-style vegetable spring rolls with sweet chili dipping sauce, Vermont flank steak in a red coconut curry sauce, and steamed jasmine rice.

Sweet Simone's is open seven days a week to serve customers whether they need a hot cup of joe or to place an order for a special occasion cake. When asked what makes her bakery stand out from the competition, Curtis doesn't hesitate to respond.

"I can give you the same answer that a lot of businesses will give you," she said. We make everything from scratch which is all true, but the real reason is we really love what we are doing and care about making someone else's special occasion even better, and we are good at it. We like being part of happy memories."

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