Aspinwall's Bella Christie has treats for life's sweet events
Bella Christie and Lil' Z's Sweet Boutique offers a tempting display of cookies, cakes, pies and other treats in its counters, but its main market is elsewhere.
“Ninety percent of our business is from events,” says Kristin Smith, who co-owns the Aspinwall sweets palace with her sister, Kadee Lewis. “Weddings, mitzvahs and 16th-birthday parties are most of our business.”
The shop on Commercial Avenue in the middle of the borough looks like a bakery upon entrance, but it is soon clear something is missing. Breads, rolls and other such baked goods that are a staple of most bakeries are not there.
Bella Christie is a specialty shop. It focuses on desserts and treats.
That line of work makes sense. The shop developed from the cake-making and dessert business that Smith had built in about eight years of work out of her Aspinwall home. Two years ago, she says, she decided she really could be better-served getting out of her household kitchen, maybe even setting up a storefront.
Bella Christie was born.
“It is unbelievable how big the event business is,” she says. “Everybody has dessert tables anymore at their celebrations.”
The shop, by the way, is named after her two daughters, Bella and Christie, while Little Z stands for Lewis' child Zoe.
The event market naturally creates a business for cakes, and Smith says they try to keep their customers satisfied by coming up with whatever is ordered. A simple cake can come in at $14, but one designed after a cartoon character, racing car or dad's WWII destroyer goes into the hundreds.
The shop's priciest cake, which is pictured on one of the walls, was a towering, tiered wedding cake and cost $5,000.
But Bella Christie is full of more-ordinary items, as well. Cookies, such as big, thick chocolate chips, are $1.65 each.
“When we started making cookies, we saw it was good to go big,” Smith says.
Other favorites are doughnuts at $10 a dozen, cheesecake minis at $1.95 each, and pies at $13.95.
Then, there are cake pops — the ingredients of a cake, shaped into a lollipop-size sphere, dipped in chocolate and put on a stick. She says they are frighteningly popular because they are a combination of favorite temptations.
“You can put anything on a stick and people eat it,” Smith says.
Besides events, the staff at Bella Christie gears up for snacking-oriented holidays such as Easter, Christmas and St. Patrick's Day.
The shop also offers coffee and tea for $1.50 and a few items for a quick breakfast bite. Four-inch quiches are put together in a variety of flavors and sell of $2.75.
“It's not all desserts,” Smith says.
Bella Christie and Lil' Z's Sweet Boutique, 213 Commercial Ave., Aspinwall, is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Details: 412-772-1283 or www.asweetboutique.com.
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Clues to Chief Justice John Roberts’ thinking on new ObamaCare case
- Pirates enter Plan B with Martin off market
- Reflecting frustration, Webb eyes presidency
- Mears savors success, credits legendary Lange for guidance, inspiration
- 5 arrested on firearm, drug charges in Spring Hill
- Allegheny County adoption event joins 40 children with families
- For Steelers, a fight to finish for playoff berth
- Derry water outage may be resolved by 5 p.m. Sunday, authority says
- Shooting victims live with bullets to survive, thrive
- Starkey: No explaining Steelers, AFC North
- Allegheny County buck could prove to be state’s largest ever taken