LAKEWOOD, N.Y. — Hours before the Chautauqua Mall in Lakewood opens for business, it’s fair to say Jaycee Moore of Jamestown is living the sweet life, as the owner of her own business.
Jaycee owns Sweets, Pastry & Fudge, located in the center of the mall, and starts each day baking a fresh batch of treats.
She is also currently enrolled in an online culinary school based out of Colorado, and is looking to earn her associates degree in baking and pastry arts by early next year.
It’s a degree that'll also help her when it comes to hiring employees and maintaining expenses, without cutting too deep into the profits.
"I thought I knew a lot as a self-taught baker and I went to school and got blindsided by how much I didn't know, and I continue to learn," said Moore.
Once the morning scones are done and drizzled with glaze, it's time to frost some cupcakes. She even let me try my hand in frosting one as well, while she continued to fill the display cases, and make a fresh pot of coffee.
These are all things she's wanted to do as part of having her own business, and says now is the time, as the mall is a good place for a start-up like hers, despite the ongoing pandemic.
"Do I sit around and wait forever, or do I do it?” said Moore. “It's been my dream. I've had this business plan that I've been waiting to use for a long time now.”
Camryn Wilson of Jamestown is part of that foot traffic, and has also worked at the mall for almost two years.
"It's really exciting just to get more business coming in,” said Wilson. “Because hopefully this will bring more people into the mall and hopefully that brings customers to all of the other stores.”
Jaycee says despite the number of empty storefronts and the mall's financial troubles, she's encouraged by the increased foot traffic as some of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have begun to loosen.
"I would say my worry is pretty low on that,” said Moore. “Always been big on wanting to be part of the reason why things are better.”
And at the end of the day, when the cases are cleared and the lights get shut off, Jaycee leaves for the day knowing she is part of the reason why things are not only getting better, but perhaps a little sweeter as well.
You have some time left to catch the shop before it leaves the mall later this month, and opens in its brand new location on East Second Street in Jamestown on August 1.