Business ‘Simply Sweet’ for new Boutte bakery

March 05, 2008 at 1:56 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

For most businesses, there is a long grace period before the owner or owners begin to see a noticeable return on their investment.

That wasn't the case with Simply Sweets, which is already well on its way to becoming an established parish business. That fast start may be the only reason that owner Wayne Guillot is still on speaking terms with his co-owners, which just happen to be his wife Brandy and his mother-in-law Janet Folse.

"Back in October, I saw this location was for lease," Guillot said about his store’s location, which formerly housed Cakes By Design. "Next thing you know, I went up to my new wife and new mother-in-law and said ‘guess what I just did; you guys are going to be bakers now.'"

But even though the purchase may have seemed a spur-of-the-moment type of deal, it wasn't. Guillot did a lot of research on the previous bakery that inhabited his current spot and realized that he could make a killing selling basic bakery items. With that, he would be able to corner the market since Guillot says there isn't another bakery on Hwy. 90 from New Orleans to Houma.

Plus, his mother-in-law is an experienced cake decorater.

"Back in the late 70s and early 80s, my mother-in-law used to decorate cakes, and ever since I've known them, I've always teased them that I would put her to work baking," Guillot said. "When I rented the spot and pitched the idea to them, they both went for it and didn't have a problem doing it."

Guillot rented the store back in January and immediately went to work making some renovations. Since all three of the owners have other jobs, with Guillot's taking him out of town a lot on business, getting everything set to open wasn't easy. However, Guillot still wanted to open in January, though his mother-in-law and wife felt that he should wait until March because Mardi Gras might be too tough to take on for an opening business.

A compromise was reached and the store officially opened on Feb. 8.

"The very first day we opened, we sold out three times in all of the products we had," Guillot said. "We were surprised, but also not surprised. We were surprised at the warm reception we got so quickly and the amount of orders we get a day, but we weren't surprised that a bakery was needed in this area."

Guillot opened with the intention of selling items such as cakes, cookies, cupcakes and brownies. However, because he is a pastry maker, and his mother-in-law has plenty of talent at baking cakes, he soon began to offer a lot more.

"At first, we had a lot of people that came in and wanted to know if we were going to sell doughnuts," Guillot said. "I did not want to compete with Take-A-Way Doughnuts because I'm a bakery, not a doughnut shop. What we decided to do was serve hot beignets, and we are the only place around here where you can get them."

Simply Sweets began by serving beignets from the time they open, which is 8 a.m., until 10 a.m. But the tasty product proved to be so popular that Guillot decided to sell beignets for as long as he can each day.

They still don't last that much longer.

"I will sell them as long as I have an employee free to make them or the store isn't really crowded," Guillot said. "A lot of times we still have to stop selling them at 10 a.m. just because we get so busy."

Another big seller has been something called an Ooey Gooey, which is made from a recipe passed down from Guillot's mother. The Ooey Gooey consists of cake mixed with cream cheese that is baked together and comes out in this thin, gooey substance.

"I can't keep them in stock," Guillot said. "We literally have people that come in and buy it by the pan."
Because of the constant addition of creative desserts like the Ooey Gooey, Simply Sweets changes their menu often.
"The possibilities are endless," Guillot said. "One thing we introduced for the first time was large, homemade carrot cake muffins with real cream cheese icing. I make about 14 to 18 a day, because they are so large, and I've sold out everyday."

One of the reasons behind the strong sales are Simply Sweets’ prices. Cookies usually go for 50 cents and cream puffs can be purchased for $1.15. Ooey Gooeys are $2.99 and brownies are $2.

In addition, Simply Sweets sells a lot of birthday cakes, wedding cakes and anniversary cakes. Most of the fillings for the cakes are homemade.

"We will make a couple of cakes a week and cut slices because people want that wedding cake flavor, but they want it in a slice," Guillot said.

Simply Sweets also fills custom orders.

"If you come in and ask us to do something, we will do it," Guillot said. "We consider ourselves a specialty bakery and whatever we can do, we're going to do it."

One of the most important items, however, may be Simply Sweets’ sugar-free cookies, cream puffs and cakes. Guillot himself knows the importance of being healthy because he had gastric bypass surgery a year and a half ago. Since then, Guillot has lost over 300 pounds and has cut out sugar completely from his diet.

"I always wanted to offer homemade sugar-free or low sugar items," Guillot said. "When I would make desserts, I would make them sugar-free and I would bring them to parties and other events.

"No one could tell the difference."

Guillot says those sugar-free items, which include fillings, fly off the shelves.

"Its easy to stop by here because it takes five minutes to grab an order and we give away free coffee," Guillot said. "Instead of stopping at one of the fast food places, they can stop in here and get something better."

Simply Sweets, which is located at 13322 Hwy. 90 next to the Boutte post office, opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. On Saturday, they open at 7 a.m. and close at 2 p.m. Simply Sweets is currently planning a Grand Opening Party for late March.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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