Check out the Syracuse Bakers Expo on Thursday, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the grand ballroom on the 10th floor of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at the event’s website.
With the help from local nonprofits, Sherita Semple, owner of Trita Treatz, is planning on giving the Syracuse area something new: a bakers convention.
Jubilee Homes and Trita Treatz will hold the first Syracuse Bakers Expo on Thursday night, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the 10th floor of the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. They plan to showcase emerging and diverse baking businesses and cafes from across Central New York.
Twenty-three local bakers will hold tables at the expo to give out samples, sell their products, and promote their businesses. All ticket sales will be donated to Jubilee Homes, a nonprofit organization that works to revitalize the Southside community of Syracuse, and Interfaith Works, an educational and social services nonprofit that promotes racial and religious diversity in Central New York communities.
Dessert wines, champagne, coffee and tea will be available at the event to complement treats. A jazz ensemble from the Syracuse City School District will provide entertainment. About 250 tickets have been purchased.
Semple baked and sold homemade desserts out of her home for at least two years before she quit her job and opened her first store-front bakery. But she said it wasn’t until local news paid a visit to her bakery and gave her a spotlight that business really boomed. Other small business bakers aren’t as fortunate, Semple said.
“I see a lot of bakers with other businesses on Facebook saying they don’t get the support, but a lot of it is we just don’t know how to market ourselves,” Semple said. “When I got put on the news and in the newspaper, it just boosted my business so much. I want them to get that same exposure.”
The inspiration began in May of last year when Semple connected with executive directors and board members with Jubilee Homes. Economic development coordinator Rita Paniagua encouraged Semple to help teach a youth culinary class with Jubilee Homes and create a bakers festival in Syracuse after seeing Semple’s desserts and thriving business, Semple said.
Both Paniagua and Semple said coordinating the event presented challenges. Semple said it was difficult to find enough bakers who were committed to the idea or had the time to join, which delayed the expo a few months.
Bakers also saw a spike in costs for products like eggs, milk, and sugar, Paniagua said. To ease some of that anxiety, Paniagua reached out to the Central New York Community Foundation to give $100 to the bakers for the cost of goods they would need to participate in the expo. Pangiuia said bakers were given 10 pre-sale tickets that they could sell to their customers as promotion for the event.
Since Feb. 27, the event also began pre-voting for a Baker of the Year Award on its website. About 1,000 people have pre-voted online as of last week, Paniagua said. The winner of Baker of the Year will receive a cash prize of up to $1,000.
“There has been a learning process for all of us,” Paniagua said. “They’re calling it a first annual, so it’s been very inspiring to see that they’re already foreseeing this to be an event that can grow into the future.”
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