Those with a penchant for pretty fondant will be pleased to know there’s a new boutique-style bakery in Hermantown. Heather Melzark and her fiancé Al Gutierrez opened Harbor City Sweets Bakery and Cakery in late February.
You won’t find bread or fried doughnuts at the sweets shop in the little strip mall behind Menards at 4310 Menard Drive #200. But on any given day, delectable treats like gourmet cupcakes, oatmeal pies, and cannoli are available for purchase.
“We pride ourselves on the fact that everything is made from scratch using all fresh ingredients,” says Melzark.
Melzark hopes to carve out a niche for herself by specializing in customized decorative cakes for weddings, birthdays and graduations. Her aesthetic is sophisticated and classy, she likes hand painting and clean lines. She’s had some challenging and strange requests but enjoys the process of working with customers to create a final product they’ll love. “The custom cakes are limited to their imagination and ours,” she says.
Melzark is completely self-taught. She started baking initially as a form of stress reduction and found she had a passion for it. She liked the idea of being her own boss and realized there was an opportunity for this sort of bakery in the area, particularly in Hermantown. She made many family birthday cakes and tested recipes for a year and a half before opening.
Clearly, it’s a labor of love. In the future, Gutierrez may be able to leave his job to work full time at the shop. But for now, Melzark is a one-woman show, working 12-hour days. She runs the shop and does all the baking — cranking out 18+ different kinds of treats in a given day.
Business has been steady so far. Melzak says they’ve had repeat customers. And 90 percent of the people who come in have been referred by word of mouth, which she considers a good sign.
Harbor City Sweets has kitchen themed retail items like aprons and cake stands for sale. For those who want to enjoy their treats on the spot, the shop has a seating area and serves brewed coffee and other cold drinks. “We sought to have a warm and inviting environment,” says Melzark.
On Fridays and Saturdays, the bakery offers adult-only cupcakes from their “Prohibition Line,” with boozy flavors like Peach Bourbon, Mai Tai, Tequila Sunrise and White Russian. Check Harbor City Sweets’ Facebook page for the latest updates on what’s available.
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