LAKEWOOD RANCH -- It all came together for Sandi Byers when she was looking for a business to buy and she spotted Pastries by Design.
The boutique bakery was for sale, and Byers had a background as a baker and cake decorator, a career as a corporate accountant and a burning desire to return to the Manatee-Sarasota area, where she had lived 20 years ago.
Lyndsy McDonald, who had opened the business in 2008, was ready to sell the bakery to become a full-time mom to her two young children.
Byers purchased the business at 10667 Boardwalk Loop on Lakewood Ranch Main Street in July, and it's been business as usual ever since. Customers will notice the sweet inventory is basically unchanged. They can choose from the same luscious cookies and cupcakes that sell for a couple of dollars each to the designer wedding and birthday cakes that sell for considerably more.
It's also a happy place, says Michigan native Lauren Blanchard who has greeted customers at the front counter for the past two years.
"It's a happy environment. Customers are excited when they come in because they have a special occasion," Blanchard said.
LuAnn Leahy of Dover, in Hillsborough County, drove to Lakewood Ranch on Friday to buy five boxes of pastries. She has been sold on the products since last year, when she bought five dozen cupcakes for her husband's 50th birthday.
Byers is a native of the Buffalo, N. Y., area, and the mother of three. Her youngest daughter, a 16-year-old Lakewood Ranch High School student, works in
the bakery after school.
"I worked in the food service industry about 14 years, including two years as lead baker and decorator," Byers said.
She returned to college to finish her accounting degree and worked as a corporate accountant for a dozen years.
She had been working with a business broker, looking for a business to buy between St. Petersburg and Naples, but halted the search as soon as she saw Pastries by Design.
"This is the one," she said to herself as she pulled up to the business.
"I have enjoyed baking since I was a little girl. I started baking with my grandmother who lived on a farm and made everything from scratch," she said.
Following her grandmother's example, everything at Pastries by Design is still made from scratch, Byers said.
The business is open 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday.
For more information, call 941-907-8222 or visit www.pastriesbydesign.com/.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee reporter, can be contacted at 941-745-7053 or on Twitter @jajones1