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Holly's Sweet Treats
Holly Thomas has been baking for as long as she can remember. Yet her first attempt to elevate her hobby - by decorating a cake for her cousin's wedding shower - was "awful."
"I wrote on it three times," Thomas laughed. "It was all smeared. But it tasted good."
A guest at the shower asked Thomas to make her wedding cake. She started making cakes and treats for family and friends hosting parties and special events. After a while, Thomas found her career in the nonprofit sector making way for a new side business for her longtime hobby, which pushed her to broaden her skills, upgrade her equipment, and perfect her craft.
Now, that side gig has taken up residence in one of downtown Hutchinson's anchor storefronts - the corner of Avenue B and Main Street. There, Holly's Sweet Treats has increased its capacity to serve the needs of the community, from custom cakes to unique, handcrafted treats, to lunch and take-home meals, and gifts that can't be found anyplace else.
"I call what I do feeding people joy," Holly said. My hope is that people come in, hang out, watch me decorate and feel like this is a place they want to be."
The Wool Market
& DIY School
The sign above The Wool Market & DIY School only partly describes what's inside.
While owners Andrea Springer and Steve Snook offer wool and all the supplies one would need to take up knitting, the space at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Main Street in Hutchinson is also a gathering space where you can watch a bad sci-fi movie one night, hear a New York Time best-selling author on another, and hone your skills the next day at a knitting class or group.
"It's amazing to get people together who would otherwise never meet around the table," Springer said. "The retail part always felt like a secondary goal. We wanted to create a welcoming space for meeting people - but how does that look in a business plan?"
The couple transitioned from established nonprofit and medical careers to create new pathways for their futures and to invest in downtown Hutchinson. In the process, they've found new friends and new creativity, sparked by the connections that have been made.
"There's something about the energy when something is created," Andrea said. "It lets them imagine what else might be possible."