After many years in the medical field, Melanie Smith dreamed of owning a bakery. She launched Sweets and Spirits in 2016, working out of the Burgaw Incubator Kitchen and steadily building her repertoire and clientele.
While she was thrilled to be turning her passion for baking into a business, she and her husband, Robert, both soon began putting on weight and experiencing other health issues.
The couple put their nearly 60 years of combined experience in the medical field to work and began researching the ketogenic diet, more commonly known as keto.
The couple made the decision at the start of 2018 to give it a try and committed to sticking with it for six months. This was doubly challenging for Melanie because her business was structured as a traditional bakery, and now she was unable to taste most of what she was making.
Smith said she and Robert began noticing positive changes almost immediately, but she was conflicted about adopting this new, healthier lifestyle while still providing her customers with traditional baked goods.
“I really felt like I was doing a disservice to my customers,” Melanie Smith said.
So Smith changed her business plan and has transformed Sweets and Spirits into a keto-based, sugar-free, gluten-free bakery.
“Keto has changed my life and if I can make a difference in just one other person’s life by offering them a healthier alternative then I’ve done an amazing thing,” Smith said.
To date, Melanie has lost 78 pounds and Robert has lost 75.
“This is not a diet; it’s a lifestyle,” Smith said. “I don’t deprive myself of anything but I’ve changed the way I look at food and now I view it as fuel for the body. Now I want to help educate others.”
Smith has dedicated herself to creating recipes for everything from bagels to pies and cakes that offer the same satisfying experience as traditional baked goods, and she said the business is growing by leaps and bounds. She now ships baked goods nationwide and has outgrown her space at the incubator kitchen.
Melanie Smith is currently pursuing a lease in the Monkey Junction area, and plans to use the funds raised from the Kickstarter campaign
to upfit the kitchen and remodel the space.
“It is an ‘as is’ lease situation so there is a lot of work to be done,” Melanie Smith said. “But we really feel this is the best possible location.”
Sweets and Spirits goodies are now available at several local coffee shops and restaurants, including Grinders Caffé, Old North Coffee, Slainte Irish Pub and Michael's Seafood in Carolina Beach.
With the holidays upon us, Melanie Smith is offering several specialty specialty doughnut flavors such as red velvet, salted caramel and "Christmas morning." Cookie flavors include gingersnaps, Mexican chocolate, white chocolate macadamia nut and peanut butter, and cranberry orange and spiced pound cakes will also be available.
Sweets and Spirits delivers locally, and all orders must be placed by noon Dec. 18.
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