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Phillips Avenue Bakeries Stay Competitive

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If you're looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, downtown Sioux Falls has turned into a hot spot for bakeries. Some have been on Phillips Avenue for years, and others are just popping up. With so many sweet shops, how does each on stay competitive? Owners share their secrets to success.

With each scoop of flour and layer of chocolate chips, bakers at The Cookie Jar stay busy making sweet treats before their lunchtime rush. The Cookie Jar has been family-owned for almost 11 years.

"And we started at the very bottom, very small and kind of built it up since then," manager Greg Koch said.

The bakery has always been downtown Sioux Falls but it's now settling in to its new home on Phillips Avenue.

"That positive energy has just carried over and it's just been busy, busy, busy," Koch said.

Their following lead them to a new, larger location at Shriver Square. Koch says the move has brought in more customers, forcing them to expand their menu and hire more staff.

"Always keeping it fresh and staying current is really the key to our success," Koch explained.

Koch says moving to the heart of downtown had been great for business, despite competition from other bakeries.

"It goes back to, we're The Cookie Jar and we make really good cookies. And if you want a really good cookie, you're going to want to go to the cookie jar." Koch said.

That same emphasis on quality is a big part of the success just one block north at Sinful Things Gourmet Desserts. The mother-daughter duo opened their shop on Phillips Avenue three and a half years ago.

"We actually walked around downtown and peeked in windows trying to find the perfect location and we peeked in this window and we saw the ceilings, we saw the floors, we said this is it," owner Jennifer Beckman said.

Jennifer and her mom Shirley make each cake and cookie from family recipes to ensure a quality dessert. They say another part of the success at Sinful Things comes from hosting intimate parties and events.
"We want people to walk in here and say, I feel like I'm at home. I'm in someone's home. I can just sit down, have a slice of cake and a cup of coffee," Beckman explained.

Even with all the competition downtown, Beckman says there's room for everyone.

"We all have something sweet that we sell, but everybody has their own personality in each of their products," Beckman said.

And that's the feeling just two blocks south on Phillips Avenue. Chris Hanmer has the newest bakery on the block. The Top Chef Just Desserts winner will open CH Patisserie on Friday.

"I think the market is ready for what we want to do. You know, the people are ready, downtown is ready. I just get so excited talking about it because we're ready for this type of experience," CH Patisserie owner Chris Hanmer said.

Hanmer is using his expertise as a pastry chef to take his customers across the globe with European inspired desserts.

"I just feel that we're another part of this culture to help bring people downtown and have just an amazing dining experience," Hanmer explained.

Hanmer says C.H. Patisserie will pride itself on sweet luxury.

"We want people to come in and try things they've never tried before," Hanmer said.

And while he acknowledges his Top Chef honor may bring people through the door, he says he hopes his pastries keep them coming back.

"Ultimately, for me, it's quality and that's really what I'm striving for," Hanmer said.
At each locally-owned sweet shop downtown, you'll find owners who say they constantly strive for quality and a unique experience that will keep them in business.
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