By Zachary Manning
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT — Linda Hundt knew since she was a child that she would love to own a bakery and now that dream has become a reality.
Hundt owns Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe, located at 108 N. Bridge St. The bakery has expanded since first opening in DeWitt and now it is one of three locations. There are two other locations in Grand Rapids and all three are owned by Hundt.
“I grew up with pies. They were always my favorite, because there are so many different kinds that you can make,” said Hundt.
DeWitt was a starting place for Hundt, because it is her hometown and she thought the city would love a new, little bakery. There were some doubters, but she had a plan and always knew that it would work out.
“This is where I live. A lot of people thought it wouldn’t work here, but I knew it would. It’s a really sweet, great community and it’s very supportive,” said Hundt. “I always dreamed of having a bakery here. I wanted to carry on tradition and DeWitt was the perfect place.”
“I don’t think anyone has the kind of food we have. Honest to God it’s really good and they’re all original recipes,” said Stephanie Haynie, production manager at Sweetie-licious. “Everything we make is from scratch and is all homemade recipes. Food is about making people feel good and taking care of people and I think that shows through with the products.”
Hundt and Haynie both believe that it is a rewarding business. Haynie believes the best part about Sweetie-licious is being able to give back to the community and Hundt loves all of her staff and how they are all able to believe in one vision.
“The best part about Sweetie-licious is we get to reach a lot of people and do a lot of cool things. We get to support a lot of deserving charities through supporting them in fundraising, by being there, and being part of that. It gives you a little bit more meaning to what you are doing,” said Haynie.
“I couldn’t do what I do without my staff. I’m super proud of them. It’s an open kitchen and you can see my workers working. This isn’t a job that you get paid a lot, so it’s a labor of love,” said Hundt.
The staff is a huge part of what makes Sweetie-licious run so smoothly. Hundt loves her staff and knows she couldn’t be where she is without them. The staff finds the work rewarding and loves working in a bakery.
“We’ve all learned so much. We’re all like a family and we all work together and it’s just fun,” said Vera Fox, employee at Sweetie-liciouis in DeWitt.
Hundt and Haynie were in agreement that they knew they had something special when they won the Food Network Pie Challenge. They have received a lot of recognition nationally and regionally as the bakery has won multiple awards. Some awards are three first places in the National Pie Championship in 2008, winning the Food Network “Amazing Pie Challenge” in 2009, and four first places in the National Pie Championship in 2010 among others.
“People always say the five-year mark. It coincided when I won the Food Network Pie Challenge. It was something I dreamed of winning when I watched it. We’ve won 21 first places,” said Hundt. “It was a personal triumph for me and it was a pie for my brother who passed away a week before. He passed away of brain cancer, so I wrote him a pie story and I ended up winning it all with that pie.”
“We started doing more and we won the Food Network Pie Challenge and we knew we had something going on and something special,” said Haynie.
Sweetie-licious has become a popular spot for the people of DeWitt. It has also helped bring good business to the city.
“Business wise they appreciate us and I think we are a destination spot and I think we have brought some business to the city,” said Haynie.
Going forward Hundt and Haynie would love to see more expansion. Opening up more stores and becoming a bigger part of the community are both things they want to work towards in the future.
“We look to expanding more stores in Michigan. We’re hoping to open a satellite shop. We want to reach out to people and get our product out there and become a bigger part of the community,” said Haynie.