Joni Schnitzler and Kelly Aukamp were among the first customers to try Sugar Fix Bakery, which opened Friday in downtown Belleville.
Both ordered coffee and chocolate-chip cookies, which Joni, 51, of Shiloh, described as “cookie-muffins” because they were so thick and moist.
“I wouldn’t normally get a cookie,” said Kelly, 53, of Swansea. “But she gave us a sample, and it was pretty yummy.”
Owner Rebecca Waterkotte formerly ran the business out of her Belleville home for two years, communicating with customers via Facebook. She was best known for her decorated celebration cakes.
Sugar Fix now occupies a storefront at 106 E. Main St., former location of Green Forest Vapor Shop, next door to Crafty Sugar Co.
The bakery will sell cakes, muffins, cookies, breads, cheesecakes, cinnamon rolls, croissants, macaroons, cannoli, bagels and cupcakes, as well as coffee, juice, soda, hot cocoa and tea. Most baked goods cost $2.50 to $3.
“Pie season is right around the corner, and I’ll be doing pies, too,” Rebecca said. “I take special requests if anyone wants sugar-free or gluten-free.”
On Friday, Rebecca’s 18-year-old daughter, Taylor, was waiting on customers at Sugar Fix. She recently graduated from Althoff Catholic High School.
The rest of the family pitched in before school, including daughters Hannah, 17, and Chloe, 15, son Chase, 14, and husband, Matt, who owns The Strike Zone indoor sports training facility in Belleville.
“It’s been pretty busy,” Taylor said. “Most people I think are excited, and they’ve all been saying that this is something that downtown Belleville has needed.”
Sugar Fix is easily spotted along East Main Street because of its bright turquoise storefront.
Inside, customers can sit at high-top tables, regular tables next to a vintage church pew or on a retro turquoise velvet couch against a whitewashed brick wall. Other decor includes a sunburst mirror and fancy cake photos on canvas.
“You can’t find a place anymore where you can sit down and have a doughnut or a bagel that’s close,” said Cindy Mills, 71, of Swansea. “I like to bring my book. It’s always in the car.”
On Friday, Cindy ordered an “everything” bagel to go with her coffee.
Alyssa Boyer brought in sons Owen, 2, and Connor, 4, to check out Sugar Fix, and both seemed mesmerized by goodies in the glass case. They went home with a jumbo sprinkle cookie, two giant Rice Krispies treats and a box of chocolate-chip cannoli.
Next in line were Libby and Jim Moreton, who ordered a German chocolate cupcake and jumbo sprinkle cookie.
“The owner is one of my neighbors, so I wanted to support her,” said Libby, 64, of Belleville. “And I brought my brother (from St. Charles, Missouri). He’s like a big kid. He loves sweets.”
Sugar Fix Bakery hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 618-550-5583.
After Rebecca’s first day of business, she joked that she now understands why sleep deprivation can be an occupational hazard for bakers.
“My biggest fear is not having enough stuff,” she said. “I’m still filling orders from before. It’s a challenge. I don’t like making stuff too far in advance. I want it to be fresh.”