UPDATE: Now that we've MET our goal (Woohoo!) we wanted to tell you our AWESOME plan if we exceed funding...
$2330 above our goal and one of our backers will be randomly selected to create a Custom Menu Item for us!
BEYOND $5330 above our goal and we'll throw a private Pre-Opening Party for all of YOU!!
Check out Update #6 for all the details :)
Hello there! We are Natalie + Jen of The Sweet Praxis!
We started this culinary adventure over five years ago and we are so incredibly grateful to all of you who have supported our humble bakery business thus far. We know we would not be where we are today without the love shown by our community, and we fully recognize that we will not be able to keep on growing without your continued involvement. So, first and foremost, THANK YOU!
After five successful years baking in our home kitchens, we are ready to open a STOREFRONT! We want the space to be a fun and sweet gathering place, a place where you can find the delicious baked goodies you have been craving, and a place you truly feel good supporting!
The Story So Far...
We met while working together at an architecture firm and became fast friends as we discovered our shared passion for all things baked. As transplants from more urban areas (Jen from Phoenix, Arizona and Natalie from Minneapolis, Minnesota), we realized that we longed to find the types of baked goods in Syracuse that we daydreamed about from our explorations to other cities. We crave the classics like flaky croissants and crusty hand-formed breads, but we also dream about adventurous flavors and textures such as lavender infused french macarons with crisp shells that give way to soft cloud-like centers. Our mouths water at the thought of dark chocolaty brownies finished with a crack of sea salt or a fluffy marshmallow flavored with vanilla bean + bourbon. And who wouldn’t want vegan and gluten-free desserts that are so flavorful you’d swear they actually are dairy, egg, and gluten-full?
Our mission became clear: if we couldn’t find these sweet treats nearby, we’d have to create them ourselves! With our bakery dreams dreamt, we made the decision to throw some seeds into the entrepreneurship soil and started experimenting right away in a tiny home kitchen. We believed then (and still believe today) that Central New York deserves both classic and creative baked goods made from the best stuff – high quality ingredients procured from local farms and organically sourced whenever possible.
In 2011, we got our start on Saturdays at the Regional Farmers Market where you may have seen us selling french macarons and mini cupcakes from a table marked by a white and aqua blue sign featuring our proud new name: The Sweet Praxis. This location, along with various seasonal festivals, gave us the opportunity to meet all kinds of awesome people and begin to develop our catering expertise, in addition to creating lasting retail partnerships with nearby cafes + eateries. Since then, we’ve steadily grown our business and expanded our product line to offer other desserts and breakfast items including cakes, cookies, scones, brownies + bars, toffee, granola, marshmallows, and even dog treats!
Along the way, our greatest joy throughout this journey has always been connecting with our community face-to-face – meeting new friends, dreaming with our customers about fantastical ways to make seasonal ingredients shine, and hearing the passion in the voices of the other food producers of Central New York. So after five successful years living the nomadic life, baking in the tiniest of home kitchens and sporadically popping up at markets and festivals here and there, we are ready to put down roots and grow a proper home for our bakery!
So, why a storefront? And why downtown Syracuse?
Because you’ve spoken and we’ve listened! We are busier than ever and the demand shows no signs of slowing. While we’re busy receiving an ever increasing number of inquiries about catering for celebrations, lots of other people are asking where our store is located. To really meet demand, we need better accessibility to our customers, more space, and more hands on deck than a home kitchen can accommodate.
Having a permanent address for The Sweet Praxis means we’ll gain that daily face-to-face time with our community that is so near and dear to our hearts AND all of you will be able to find us easily and conveniently whenever your sweet tooth kicks in. Yay easily! Yay conveniently! The other big advantage of our own location is that we can make the menu bigger and better! As the name Praxis suggests, we love coming up with new baked creations, incorporating local flavors from the bounty of Central New York, and offering lots of options for folks with unique dietary preferences. There’s only so much room for all that stuff without a retail presence and commercial kitchen, but with more space and better tools, we can provide larger quantities and wider variety. We’re asking you to back our project to help us get there.
We found the perfect space, located in a historic building within the Hanover Square neighborhood of Downtown Syracuse. This is a busy area with a growing diverse population, lots of foot traffic, and happens to be lacking a full-line bakery. The Sweet Praxis aims to fill that void and offer the neighborhood a sophisticated and creative menu featuring seasonal, organic and local foods made by knowledgeable staff in a stylish and well-designed space. (There’s also plenty of public parking, people!)
What will The Sweet Praxis Bakery + Café be like?
In our bakery + cafe, we’ll be serving much more than just the macarons and mini cupcakes that have already helped us make a name for ourselves. Our upgraded menu will include products our customers already enjoy along with new items such as sweet + savory pastries, hearty loaves of bread, breakfast and lunch options, coffee + tea, and plenty of selections for vegan and gluten-free folks to boot! And since our new home will give us the kitchen space we so desperately need, we will have increased catering capabilities which means that whether you’re looking for something special to order for your next office meeting, or you want to wow your wedding guests with a fabulous dessert table, we’ve got you covered!
Utilizing design skills from our days in the architecture profession, we envision a space that is light, bright, playful, and inviting. We picture a hip + modern atmosphere, with food you can feel great about, and the kind of retail team who remembers just which sweet indulgence is your favorite and how you like your coffee. We imagine a space that will become a hub for our community—a place where memories are made, ideas are sparked, and friends + family connect over locally sourced, fresh, flavorful food. Come plug in your laptop and get some work done over a coffee and croissant, gather with good friends for a slice of pie or a cup of tea, grab breakfast to-go, enjoy a leisurely brunch on the weekend, or just pick up a warm baguette on your way home for dinner.
Why we need your help + what we plan to do with all that DOUGH…
At this point, we are on track to open a functioning retail location in the summer of 2016 and make this thing happen for REAL! We’ve secured the perfect space, a talented construction crew, and an initial bank loan to make it all happen. BUT! It’s probably no surprise that commercial kitchen equipment can be VERY expensive. We’re reaching out to the community through Kickstarter for help in funding our expansion because conventional financing only takes us so far. We need your support to ensure that this venture is totally successful.
The moolah raised will help to finish the transformation of our operation from a small-scale desserts shop into a full-fledged bakery with an expanded product line including bakery staples such as croissants, pastries, and breads. In order to offer our customers the full bakery experience so desperately craved in Downtown Syracuse, we’re still missing some key tools that will enable us to bake you the goods all the time. We’ve already purchased the basic equipment to make some pretty yummy desserts, but for the new expanded menu items we’ll need to buy a bunch more:
Stretch Goals: Any capital raised beyond the cost of our kitchen equipment will only let us take our vision further. It’s summertime and we would love to have comfortable tables and chairs for outdoor seating, as well as exterior awnings and building signage to help announce our street presence to passers-by. That means that any contributions over 100% will go towards making this happen!
What you are supporting:
We see Kickstarter as more than a fundraiser; it represents a new level in our relationship with our community and we see it as an inclusive process. We love what we do and we aim to share our mission with those who love food just as much. Your investment lets us know that you support these values and want to see us thrive. It is this feeling of connection and support from our customers that gives us the drive to run this business. We’re hoping that we can collaborate with all of you to make this dream a reality, for all of us.
What's in it for YOU?
How about the addition of Syracuse’s newest and most beautiful bakery to your neighborhood where you can sample epicurean delights and see our smiley faces nearly every day of the week? But if that’s not enough, or you’re not in the Syracuse area, we’ve developed some pretty delectable incentives to say thanks for your help! Check them out in the sidebar to the right. We will post updates that explain some of our favorite rewards in more detail so check back often!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
A super-duper huge THANK YOU for taking the time to read this and for all of your support! We’ve come this far feeling the love from our community and we know we can take it to the next level with a little help from each of you—our supporters, friends, neighbors, and customers who’ve been with us all the way! Please consider backing our project. We’re ready to take our next step, and we hope you’ll come with us. Thank you for helping bring organic and locally-sourced bakery love to Central New York!
Please remember, if we do not make our goal in time, we receive no Kickstarter funding. Zero. Nada. Zilch. PLEASE, please, please share our campaign with anyone and everyone you know who would love to see another small business in Syracuse expand and grow -- we won’t be able to reach our goal without you so help us spread the word!
Special Thanks & Shout Outs:
Video by Daylight Blue Media
Original Art and Design Collaboration by Jason Evans Rethink Syracuse
Awesome article in The Post Standard newspaper by Katrina Tulloch Syracuse.com
Risks and challenges
While construction can come with many challenges, we know our way in and around this process. Our permit has already been secured and construction is underway! The biggest challenge will be keeping things on schedule for a summer opening. With experience in the architecture and interior design industry, we’re confident we’ll be able to keep things moving as quickly as possible on our end. Regardless of the amount of time the bakery takes to be ready, we have total faith that once our storefront is open, we will be able to fully execute our commitment to our community and everyone who helped support it!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)