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Aspinwall bakery hits web in effort to expand business

| Wednesday, July 18, 2012, 3:57 p.m.

The owners of an Aspinwall bakery are turning to social media to try and expand their business and connect with customers.Bella Christie's & Lil' Z's Sweet Boutique is raising money through Kickstarter, a website where people and businesses can raise money for projects. Owners Kristin Smith and Kadee Lewis plan to buy a truck to serve baked goods in different parts of the Pittsburgh area.Smith and Lewis have set a $24,000 goal and as of Tuesday morning people had pledged $10,885. The deadline is July 26.The boutique, which opened about a year ago, would announce online where its truck would be and during what times. The concept is similar to other food trucks, which have been in service in Pittsburgh and other cities, Smith said."Instead of going for a traditional brick and mortar setup, we thought it'd be nice to have something mobile on wheels we can take out to different areas," Smith said.The truck already has some equipment such as a sink and refrigerator. The overall cost of getting the truck ready for service is expected to be between $60,000 and $72,000, Smith said.Lewis said each pledged amount comes with a reward ranging from cupcakes to a party for up to 100 people."You're not donating money, you're pledging money. You get something in return," Lewis said.Raising money through Kickstarter provides a better advertising opportunity for the store, Smith said. It also makes customers feel like they are helping with the business."People feel like they're involved," Lewis said.Through their involvement with the site, Smith said, they have discovered several other projects in the region. She said she hopes those other projects reach their goal."I'd love to see some of the things come to fruition," Smith said.To make a pledge for Bella Christie's & Lil' Z's Sweet Boutique's truck project, see www.kickstarter.com and search for "Sweetest Truck."The deadline to make a pledge is July 26.

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