The Norma Forde house on Main Street in Laurinburg may not be the most obvious spot to house a bakery, but according to the proprietors of Sweet Spot Bakery, it is the most fitting.
“At one time we had a bakery on Main Street, but that’s been years,” said Diane Rainer.
Rainer, with sisters Renee Anderson and Jeanette Rainer, own and operate The Sweet Spot Bakery out of the brick home, formerly the residence of Laurinburg’s most venerable restaurateur. Although Forde’s cafe has long been replaced by a bank, the Sweet Spot Bakery has brought the aroma of homemade treats back to Laurinburg since it opened in April.
Visitors to the bakery will be welcomed by an array of brownies, cookies, and cupcakes in every variety the sisters can concoct, from oatmeal raisin cookies to banana creme cupcakes with cream cheese icing.
Prices range from cookies at 60 cents each or $7.25 for a dozen to $35 for a 10 inch layer cake or cheesecake. Coconut, sweet potato, apple, and pecan pies can be had at two for $15, with a wide selection of specialty nuts and candies also available.
“We try to make the prices affordable - we understand where we are and the economy in this county. We want everybody to be able to afford at least one cupcake,” said Anderson.
The bakery began when a suggestion from a friend of Anderson’s coincided with layoffs at Jeanette Rainer’s job and a family love of baking.
“We started out making things for family and church functions and just giving stuff away, and it just went from there,” Anderson said. “We started last September and found this place in October, and we’ve been working ever since to get in here.”
A few new electrical outlets and phone lines later, the sisters are now taking special orders for wedding cakes, birthday cakes, and other baked goods, as well as welcoming customers at their front door.
“Everything’s homemade - 100 percent,” said Jeanette Rainer. “Pie crusts and everything.”
Each sister has their own particular specialty within the business, testing tried-and-true recipes as well as experimenting with new ideas.
“Each one of use has a different area we work in - Jeanette does all of the cakes, the pound cakes, Renee does the cookies and the pies and the icing, and I do the nuts, the candies, and coffee cakes, cupcakes, and brownies,” Diane Rainer said.
“We pull from different places,” Anderson added. “We have a lot of our own recipes. Some things we just tweak a little bit, and some things we just make up. We always test them out on our family members. We used to have taste test Thursday - we came up with something new, and everyone would come try it.”
The bakery is open from 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, remaining open until 5 p.m. on Fridays. On Saturdays, business hours are 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Business so far has kept pace with the sisters’ high expectations, keeping them busy replenishing the display case three or four times a day. At present, their business is split evenly between special orders and customers who walk in to satisfy a sudden sweet tooth.
“We expected business to be great, and it has met our expectations,” Diane Rainer said. “All of our advertising has been word-of-mouth. We have a different range of faithful people who come - some come every day. We have people who make office runs and decide who’s going to come that day to pick up for the office.”
The Sweet Spot Bakery is located at 907 South Main Street.