By Brenda L. Holmes
AVON — When James Nicely decided to change careers, he went from putting out fires to cooking up treats. He and his wife, Jamie, opened Sweet Treats Bakery and now the All American Soda Shop.
Nicely served in the fire and EMS field for many years. He was a firefighter in Brownsburg until it went to an all paid department. He then worked for the Wayne Township Fire Department — the past few years as a chaplain.
He said the work had become stressful and taxing on him, although he is still involved with the Red Cross.
“I decided to do something I was passionate about,” he said. “I’ve always loved to cook, so I went to culinary school.”
He said his wife was all about creating a specialty cupcake bakery.
“I wanted to make sure the business would be viable, even if the cupcake craze dies down,” he said.
So they decided to make baked goods for all occasions.
“We do a lot of stuff here,” Nicely said. “First, we wanted to get the bakery set up and established.”
He said the full-service bakery offers everything from cupcakes, cookies, and brownies, to freshly made cheese cakes.
“We also offer special order cakes for birthdays and weddings, as well as pies,” Nicely said. “Around the holidays we did candy and fudge. Our pastry chef even makes one rhubarb pie a week for a lady. She can no longer make them, so she orders one every week.”
Tara Bryan is the pastry chef at Sweet Treats. She can do anything from a wedding cake to a cupcake — and make each very special. She has also started Weddings by Sweet Treats.
The shop offers nine to 10 cupcake flavors each day — the four standard flavors served each day are vanilla, chocolate, wedding cake, and red velvet.
“Wedding cake and red velvet are the most popular,” Nicely said. “We also do homemade cinnamon rolls every day.”
The bakery has now been open for eight months and Nicely has begun to add his favorite part of the business — the All American Soda Shop.
“We have hand dipped ice cream and soda,” he said. “We also have food service at lunch. No burgers. We have things like Philly steak, sloppy joes, and elephant ear tenderloins.”
The soda shop offers soup, salads, wraps, and combination options daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
When the couple was looking for a shop, they first looked near their home in Brownsburg.
“We looked, but every spot was either too small or too big,” Nicely said. “This ship was a Blimpy before, so it was already built out and set up as a restaurant.”
They even have a drive through where customers can pick up a quick drink and cupcake on the move.
“We really enjoy the location,” Nicely said. “There’s a lot of traffic. We try to make it a good value. Our coffee is $1 a cup. Our ice cream is $1.99 for any cone. We have cake, sugar, or waffle cones. There is no upcharge and we make our own waffle cones here.”
At the end of the day the daily fresh baked leftovers are taken to Country Side Meadows and donated to the residents there.
“We want everything baked fresh daily,” Nicely said. “And we also want to give back to the community.”
Sweet Treats Bakery and the All American Soda Shop is at 7900 E. U.S. 36, Avon. For more information, call 272-0100. The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.