SPRINGFIELD – For every new business, celebrating milestones is something sweet.
That’s especially true for Downtown Springfield’s dessert shop, Main Street Sweets, which celebrated its first birthday on Nov. 1.
“It’s weird to think it’s already been a year,” said Carrie Boehm, owner. “It’s like watching your kids grow because you’ve invested so much time into it, and you want it to work so badly.”
She has enjoyed seeing her customer base grow – but she emphasized that seeing regulars come back and get to see snippets of their lives was really meaningful.
Boehm mentioned the example of seeing a previously pregnant customer share that they would be celebrating their child’s first birthday, indicating how much it has meant to get to know the people who walk through her doors.
“It’s just nice connecting with people who I would have never met otherwise,” Boehm said.
In addition to the support Main Street Sweets has received from its customers, Boehm praised the City of Springfield and the Springfield Chamber for backing small businesses, noting that both have often bought desserts from her shop for staff meetings.
“I get really anxious when it comes to meeting new people. I know I’m just going to say something stupid, but everyone has been so welcoming and really, really supportive,” Boehm said. “We’ve had people come to buy cookies for their meeting or a pie to give away at the raffle. Even that small thing – to them, it’s probably not a big deal – I’m so grateful they thought to come here and get cookies from us.”
In her other business venture, Springfield’s Flashback Grill, which is co-owned by Boehm and her husband Chris Boehm, she said she took more of a backseat on the operation side.
But for Main Street Sweets, Boehm has been the sole backbone, making her appreciate everything her husband does for Flashback Grill even more.
She mentioned that businesses typically don’t see profits for the first year, saying that understanding this has allowed her to practice some self-grace since she knows she is putting forward her best daily.
Lately the shop has been doing better financially, according to Boehm. She said, even with the inflation of some dairy prices over the last year – notably eggs and butter – Main Street Sweets is able to pay three employees minimum wage and maintain fair prices.
One of those employees is Mandy Bazer, who has been working at Main Street Sweets since last December.
“Working here is so much fun, and Carrie’s such a good person. She does so much for the community,” Bazer said. “It’s such a good atmosphere working here.”
This holiday season, Main Street Sweets is providing at-home cookie decorating kits. It started with Halloween but will continue this Thanksgiving and Christmas. To incentivize engagement, cookie decorators can post pictures of their cookies and tag the shop on Instagram to potentially earn the title of “Best Dressed Cookie” as well as a free cookie for their work.
Main Street Sweets hopes to make the holidays special for customers by also offering a pie list for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Patrons will be able to sign up and order pies to pick up the day before each holiday, but there will be limited supplies available.
There have also been rumblings of Main Street Sweets teaching decorating classes. Customers would have to work quickly to purchase a limited spot – priced at the cost of the decorating supplies – where they would learn how to create fun, frosted cupcakes. This is still in the works as Boehm plans how to ensure it is a cost-effective experience for all ages. She also needs to ensure that the Main Street Sweets facility will be utilized safely, which is why she would limit the number of spots.
According to Boehm, a huge hurdle for Main Street Sweets has been getting its name out there to Springfield residents and visitors. She admitted that marketing was a struggle for the shop but stressed that Main Street Sweets is making slow progress on this front, building its customer base steadily.
Boehm’s father, Steve Temple, said he loves his daughter “to death because she’s easy to love,” commending her for taking on the challenge of opening Main Street Sweets and being a “dedicated, hard worker.”
“You can’t help but be proud of her for having the courage to go do this because not everybody’s gonna do that, and so I’m terribly proud of her,” Temple said.
A trend Boehm noticed with her desserts is that most people come in for a quick treat, opting for a smaller baked good which can be for either one person to enjoy or two people to share. A fan-favorite over the last year has been brownies, which Boehm said is because she has a great recipe.
“I didn’t expect the brownies to be as popular as they are – not that I don’t think they’re great,” Boehm said. “It’s just, we go through probably two or three pans of brownies a day, and we’ve had people special order pans of brownies.”
She also said the miniature pies – which she calls “bestie pies” – have been more popular than expected.
“I started making a couple at a time, and they would sell out within the hour,” Boehm said.
Boehm said she’s growing Main Street Sweets one step at a time, and the shop’s next step is to be determined.
“I just hope that we continue to grow and that more than that, I want to continue to be a place that people go to make people feel better and be a source of even just a little bit of joy,” Boehm said. “I want Main Street Sweets to be a place where people are excited to go to that makes their days a little bit better.”