It's been years since Heather Horton was challenged by an art professor to create a logo and font for a mock business. But when she worked this year to turn that idea for a bakery into an actual business, this PSU graduate knew those hours spent in class were well worth it.
The owner of the new Sweet Designs Cakery shop at 311 Broadway in Pittsburg, Horton, who received a bachelor's degree in commercial graphics and master's degree in communication, has big plans for her creations - even the smallest of them.
"I haven't met anybody who doesn't like them," said Horton, about her "cake bites," which are morsels of cake dipped in chocolate - one of the signature items that will be on her menu when Sweet Designs Cakery officially opens this winter. "They're a phenomenon."
Horton, who contemplated a career in art before studying public relations in graduate school, said running the business and baking the cakes have given her a chance to put her artistic side to work.
"I've used color theory in designing my signs and logos, and I can also draw with frosting and things like that," Horton said. "Just in the past two years, I've really learned to enjoy baking and doing things in the kitchen. And it gives me a creative outlet."
Although her downtown shop in its historic building is still coming together, Horton is a woman with drive. She hopes her shop, complete with a newly built kitchen, becomes a destination for anyone with a sweet tooth and a little spare time.
Lighting up when describing what the store will sell, Horton has prepared a menu of temptation: cake bites, of course, will be a popular item, but she will also create full cakes, in addition to gelato, the Italian ice cream. Drinks will also be available.
And like any good student, Horton has remembered to incorporate her communication skills. In one corner of the store, an old two-seater booth will serve as a venue for discussions about, say, an engaged couple's requests for their wedding cake.
"My husband and I just want to be involved in the community," Horton said. "We're not out to make it big. We just want to survive and be comfortable and be involved."
Horton is now taking orders for cakes and other treats. For more information, call (620) 231-CAKE.