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MAKING HISTORY: Sisters open neighboring businesses in Birthplace of Women’s Rights

Bee’s Cookies & Cakes features a wide range of baked goods for every occasion.

It might be one of the most-unique situations to have developed in recent memory in downtown Seneca Falls.

Siblings taking part in owning businesses that operate less than three doors apart in downtown Seneca Falls. Sisters in the Birthplace of Women’s Rights – operating separate bakery and home goods located at 12 and 14 State Street.

Bee’s Cookies & Cakes features an array of beverages, baked goods, and light breakfast fare, which is all executed by two individuals. Chris and Debbie Boulter opened the cozy bakery with a number of years experience under their respective belts in the restaurant business.

Simply Home, owned and operated by Pam Bailey — Debbie Boulter’s sister — features a variety of home decorations. The two businesses weren’t expected to open together. Bailey said that opening her own business was always something she wished she could take on — the opportunity just hadn’t presented itself.

The opportunity came up when Chris and Debbie realized that there was an opportunity in the space just a few feet down the street. “This wasn’t part of a plan, but it’s been great that everything has happened the way it has,” all three agreed during an interview with FingerLakes1.com at the State Street shop.

RELATED: Check out Simply Home on Facebook

Family and business are difficult to mix sometimes. But it hasn’t been for this trio, who are always happy to help each other out as they navigate the waters of operating small businesses in a challenging market.

Inside the Simply Home store on State Street.

“Business has been great. It was actually better than we expected,” Chris explained. “The events over the holiday season were great for business,” he continued. While seeing a steady stream of customers, from open-to-close isn’t always going to happen — he noted that the various Town-wide events, which drew thousands into the community help dramatically.

In particular, the ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ festivities, which featured a multi-day festival and race — proved to be a crucial boom for the new business’ bottom line. The holiday season, which was both operations ‘trial by fire’ experience made the two businesses better.

Bailey said that the holiday season was great for her store, which was admittedly better than she expected. She said that people were open to her store’s offerings, some of which have sentimental value.

“It was so wonderful to start the business off in that aspect and have so many people from around the U.S. visit the store,” Bailey explained. She said that several customers who visited her store during the holiday season have remained in contact — even those from outside the area — and are looking forward to coming back.

For the Boulter’s a big part of their idea when opening was to offer something unique. “You couldn’t find hot breakfast in Seneca Falls. So we thought, ‘Well, O-K let’s try it.’” The reception has been good for the duo thus far, as their small storefront quickly fills up.

RELATED: Check out Bee’s Cookies & Cakes on Facebook

All three discussed the challenges around running small businesses. “We didn’t want to advertise right away,” Pam explained. The pair talked about wanting to work into a bigger, more developed strategy after they had seen what business was going to be like at their State Street location.

“We have such tiny spaces, and honestly it’s kind of incredible that we can do as much as we can out of this kitchen,” Chris said of the duos ability to provide a hot breakfast, along with the myriad of baked goods that come from Bee’s.

All three expect to see their success continue in the coming months of 2017.

Winter hours at Bee’s Cookies & Cakes are as follows:

Tuesday through Friday: 8 am – 2 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 2 pm
Sunday / Monday: Closed

Winter hours at Simply Home are as follows:

Tuesday: 10 am – 2 pm
Wednesday: 10 am – 4 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 6 pm
Friday: 10 am – 3 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 2 pm
Sunday / Monday: Closed

Also on FingerLakes1.com

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