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Bakin' up a Dream

How sweet it is. The pandemic-that-won’t-go-away has closed many doors but has opened others. For Lusha Caliendo Martin and Mark Rulison the loss of her job in 2020 impelled them forward in their pursuit of a long-held dream.

The two opened their new bakery, Bakin’ Bakery, at 117 Main Street in Sheffield, just before Valentine’s Day and have been happily baking up an ever-expanding array of goodies ever since.

“Lusha had been baking for friends and family out of our house for a long time,” said Rulison.

In 2008, she took a course in pastry creation at the Connecticut Culinary School and, after decades in the world of non-profit administration, she decided she wanted to make baking her career. Subsequently, she worked for several restaurants and bakeries.

“Covid was a blessing and a curse,” said Rulison. “Lusha was furloughed and then laid off so the opportunity was there to follow the dream.”

They talked about expanding within their house but then learned about a space in the Bartholomew Block in the center of Sheffield. “This fantastic location became available,” said Rulison. “We looked at the logistics and the math and it became a no-brainer. The cost was about the same and we have more visibility here.”

Caliendo Martin has been churning out all the things customers expect from a bakery—cupcakes, cookies, cakes and more but Rulison said the best part is to observe customers’ smiles when they find surprise items such as freshly made Whoopie Pies.

Then, of course, there are the cakes for special occasions made to the customer’s specifications. “If they want a cake, I can do it,” vowed Caliendo Martin. “I make a lot of ‘candy explosion’ cakes, which have six layers. When you cut them the candy pours out. That is popular for birthdays and gender reveals.”

Also available is a small gift sections that includes birthday cards and candles as well as local honey, syrup and the like.

Just recently, the bakery expanded its offerings to include savories such as mini-quiches and bento boxes.

The bakery is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10AM to 8PM; 413-248-1080 or on Facebook.