There is very little about Somerset Sweeterie that is not, well, sweet.
From the collection of confections made with affection, to the smiles on the employees' faces, to the airy light blue walls and knick-knacked decor that brings to mind the perfect little Main Street store from the perfect little town in your favorite Hallmark movie, Somerset Sweeterie lives up to its name in spades.
Now, the bakery and sweets shop is helping Somerset create a bit of that downtown Hallmark perfection for itself.
Somerset Sweeterie is the creation of local woman Kristyn Russell, a 2014 graduate of Somerset High School. Her first job back when she was about 16 was helping another woman, JoAnn Fain, make cakes for parties at Jumparooz.
"After a few years, she got out of doing it, and I just kind of kept on doing it," said Russell. "... She taught me everything I know.
"I've been baking at home for a few years," she added. "I was working at Hobby Lobby for a while, and the bank, and every night I would get off work, and every night I would get off work and go back to work at home baking. So one day, I finally decided to give it a shot and try it full-time."
Her experience with Fain was not Russell's first taste of baking -- when she was young, she would bake with her grandmothers. "I've just always enjoyed being in the kitchen," she said.
However, it's more than just pulling things in and out of the oven. For Russell, baking is a means of expression.
"I've always been really creative and always enjoyed painting and different things," she said. "It is (an artistic outlet). There are wedding cakes I've hand-painted flowers on, and made little Mickey Mouse ears (on cakes)."
Somerset Sweeterie will do custom cakes for your event, but while they take orders for those, there are still plenty of good things to choose from available when you walk in the door. Cupcakes, cookies, ice cream and candies are all part of the Somerset Sweeterie selection, as well as breakfast food like muffins in the morning.
"The breakfast stuff is new to me. I've never done that before now," she said. "We have a variety. Sometimes we have blueberry or banana nut. Then we'll have cinnamon rolls, we have coffee, and milk and juice for sale."
She also has doughnuts -- though she works together with another small local business to offer those, going to Master Donuts on the south end of town daily and picking up some to bring back for downtown customers.
"It kind of helps him out and gets his name out there," said Russell of Master Donuts' owner So Sopheap.
Usually around lunchtime, the breakfast offerings are gone, "and we start bringing out cookies and brownies and cupcakes," said Russell.
Somerset Sweeterie, which opened in late June, is closed on Sundays and Mondays. Tuesday through Thursday, the store closes at 6 p.m. and for the summer, on Fridays and Saturdays, they're staying open until 8 p.m. They open at 7:30 a.m.
Every day, Russell aims to have a few different types of cupcakes, which often explore more exotic flavors than your average treats. There are a few staples, she said, like Oreo, and peanut butter and chocolate, but customers who want to try different things will just have to stop in each day and see what's available.
The ice cream, however, has a flavor people know they want -- Superman flavored, with a swirl of colors that attracts the imagination of any child or child at heart.
"Everybody wants the Superman," said Russell. "I've consistently sold out of Superman. It's been a big hit."
There usually about eight flavors of ice cream out on display, and here too Russell likes to experiment -- "I tried cotton candy last week, just to see if it would sell well, and it did."
Cookies include peanut butter, white chocolate macadamia nut, and chocolate chunk.
"We're just kind of introducing new things slowly," said Russell. "We do have a small kitchen in the back, so today we might have (one flavor) and tomorrow we might have a different flavor."
That kitchen sits on East Mt. Vernon Street in what used to be one big restaurant space, before it was bought and renovated. Now, Serendipity at the Orange Door takes up part of that space, and right next door is Somerset Sweeterie, becoming the latest business to take a bite out of downtown opportunity.
"I think Somerset has been kind of run down for a few years, and it needed a facelift," said Russell. "I'm really grateful to my landlords (1776 Holdings) for the revitalization, because (Somerset) has needed it for a long time.
"I think a bakery is a staple that you have to have," she added. "Every downtown needs a bakery, and it needs a little cafe."
It's a dream downtown, like from a Hallmark movie -- and for Russell, the business is "a dream come true."