When I first heard that someone was planning to open a new bakery in Center Township, it didn’t really register with me. I’m never going to turn down a good cupcake, but I’m also not the type of person who craves sweets, and I am much more concerned with the type of steak I have on my birthday than the cake that follows.
As I thought more about this new bakery idea, it occurred to me that people don’t bake cakes like they used to. I can remember my grandmother scoffing at my mother for making “one of those box cakes” when I was younger. Nowadays, people don’t even make “those box cakes,” they just order one from Wal-Mart, even though those cakes suck.
The more I thought about this evolution of birthday cakes, the more I wanted to talk to the people behind this new venture in Center Township. What I found was more than just a cool new business in Beaver County. I also made two new friends who have an amazing story behind their unbelievable cakes, cookies, and specialty cupcakes!
Who Are Mary & Chelsea?
Marry Messenger spent more than 20 years of her life working under an incredible amount of stress as a Registered Nurse working with patients suffering from cardiac issues. After she was injured at work and realized she would not be able to return, she began to explore other career options.
At about the same time, her daughter, Chelsea Ruud, was considering going into nursing school herself. While nursing school sounded like a good fit for Chelsea, she was also looking for a way to express her artistic abilities, and that wasn’t going to happen in a hospital.
When Chelsea was in 9th grade, she expressed an interest in baking, so Mary did what any supportive mother would do and the two of them began making all different types of cakes, cookies, and cupcakes together. Mary broke out some of her grandmother’s best recipes and Chelsea started experimenting with creative decorating techniques.
Watching Shows like Cake Boss and Cupcake Wars really inspired Chelsea to get even more creative with her baking and provided her with a wealth of great ideas! When she began taking her specialty cupcakes to the gym with her at night, she received rave reviews from everyone working there and all of a sudden people started asking if she would take orders. It was time to start a business!
While the business is new to Beaver County, M&C Sweets represents four generations of baking. They are using recipes handed down from Mary’s Grandmother, and you can usually find Mary’s mother helping out in the store, which is located in Lucci Plaza along Brodhead Road in Center Township!
The biggest selling point for anything that you buy from M&C Sweets is that it was made from scratch. While many bakeries will thaw frozen cakes that come in pre-made and throw some icing on them, everything at M&C Sweets was made right there by either Mary or Chelsea, and these two are sticklers for quality!
There is always going to be a different selection of sweets available on their shelves, but the root of Mary and Chelsea’s new business is handling your custom orders for specialty cupcakes and creative custom birthday cakes. Because they bake from scratch, they are able to do things that other bakeries can’t, like dye the actual color of the cake for a gender reveal at a baby shower. With a little research, they can also replicate just about anything you might see on the Pinterest.
One of the things I found out about M&C Sweets that got me excited was that they are currently taking orders for Chirstmas cookies by the dozen. I can remember just about everyone in my family baking Christmas cookies from scratch and exchanging them with each other when I was younger. Now, we all just buy cookies in boxes at our local grocery stores, and it just isn’t the same. No one eats the cookies anymore.
While no one in my family (especially me) is planning to find the time to bake homemade Christmas cookies this year, Mary and Chelsea are giving me the chance to buy their homemade cookies instead of the junk I usually grab from the grocery store on Christmas Eve.
A Greater Cause
While the cakes look great, the specialty cupcakes are out-of-this-world, and I absolutely love those little rice crispy-marshmallow-peanut butter things, this would be just another story about two local entrepreneurs starting a cool business until we started talking about Mary and Chelsea’s long-term business goals.
When we started talking big picture about their business, neither Mary or Chelsea really seemed all that interested in making a big pile of money, and they both agreed that they never wanted to expand beyond one store. The primary long-term goal of M&C Sweets is to honor the memory of Mary’s daughter and Chelsea’s sister, Lauren.
I didn’t know Mary or Chelsea during the time that Lauren was battling cancer, so any attempt I make to describe what they must have gone through would be completely inadequate. But I can certainly speak to the strength that these two women demonstrate in the way that they have carried themselves and continued to raise money for cancer research.
Their family is actively involved in annual Relay for Life fundraisers, and Mary & Chelsea hope to use their profits to contribute to a scholarship fund in Lauren’s name. They also have plans to organize fundraisers to raise money for cancer research.
The next time your sweet tooth shows up in the middle of the day, stop my M&C Sweets and grab a specialty cupcake, or two, or ten. You could not possibly find anyone in our community more deserving of your business!