Athens bakeries attract extra business with seasonal treats during holiday season

Despite the pressing demands of the holidays, bulk baking is no problem for Jenn McClain Eskey.

Eskey, the owner of Athens Sweet Arts Bakery and Desserts, is looking forward to all of the treats she’ll be baking for people during the holidays.

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“We do everything,” Eskey said. “As long as we can find a recipe, we’re willing to make it.”

From Christmas cookies to specially-ordered holiday goods, several Athens bakeries are looking forward to a busy yet rewarding holiday season. They will be offering a variety of baked goods tailored to the holidays in-store, and they’ll also bake larger orders of holiday treats customers can come and pick up.

Athens Sweet Arts Bakery and Desserts, located at 817 W. Union St., is offering many different holiday-related cookies and goods for its customers to choose from.

“We’re going to have adorable little tote boxes that will have cake bites or buckeyes in them, boxes of four cupcakes with holiday decor on the top, various mini cookies and boxes with larger cookies,” Eskey said.

Eskey is also looking forward to offering some of the individual baked goods to her customers.

“We’ll also have separately packaged sugar cookie Christmas trees. It’s three different sugar cookies that are three different sizes, stacked on top of each other with holiday sprinkles and a star on top. They’re just adorable,” Eskey said. “There will also be jumbo cupcakes with Christmas trees on them and rugala, which is a traditional Jewish treat.”

With as many holiday goods as Eskey bakes, it’s no surprise her customers have some favorites that sell each year.

“Our ugly sweater cookies are pretty popular. I don’t know of anywhere else that you can get those, and although they’re ugly sweaters, they’re adorable,” Eskey said.

Another recurring holiday favorite is Eskey’s $10 goody boxes one can purchase for a gift exchange.

“Generally if you work at an office you’ll have an office party, so we sell cylindrical boxes that contain a gift certificate, and then some goodies inside,” Eskey said. “We find that people don’t want to spend $10 on something they don’t think the person is ever going to use, so it’s way easier to spend $10 on a box of goodies the person is going to enjoy.”

Around the holidays, Athens Sweet Arts Bakery and Desserts will get a little more business when customers bring in specific family recipes to be made.

“We’ve had multiple times where we’ll have someone that knows how to bake, but they’re getting a little older and it’s getting more difficult for them to stand in the kitchen, so they’ll bring their family recipes in and have us make them,” Eskey said.

Eskey prides herself on being able to bake things specially for people, especially around the holidays.

“I feel as though anytime we can make something special that maybe someone can’t get anywhere else, it’s all worth it,” Eskey said. “Christmas seems to be a very big time of year for those things, but baking any time of the year is great.”

Christine Hughes, co-owner of the Village Bakery, is also getting ready for the busy holiday season. The Village Bakery, located at 268 E. State St., fills many special orders with its homemade holiday favorites.

“We have all kinds of things we bake ourselves,” Hughes said. “We’re doing rolls, breads and croutons, several different kinds of pies, holiday cookie trays, coffee cake and then some individual desserts that are really popular.”

The Village Bakery specializes in baking apple galettes, an apple pie-like dessert that’s a holiday favorite for many of its customers.

“It’s really easy and great for a host to serve because they don’t have to cut it,” Hughes said. “We get to use cherry orchard apples, so it’s a seasonal pastry that we won’t be able to have later on in the winter because the apples run out. They also go really well with our ice cream we make.”

Village Bakery also offers a gluten-free cheesecake with hints of lemon and vanilla that sells well during the holidays. The extra business makes for a chaotic few months, but the bakers and workers at Village Bakery wouldn’t have it any other way.

“We’ve pulled a couple all-nighters, and it’s hard on our sleep schedule, but it’s worth it,” Hughes said. “We love baking during Christmas time because everyone loves holiday goodies.”


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