MECHANICVILLE – By the time Stacie Blair was 5 years old, she had memorized her grandma Erma Hartman’s banana bread recipe and was able to bake it on her own, no adult supervision needed.
“It’s one of those things you come in, try it and you step back in time,” she said.
A loaf of bread using that recipe sat on top of the counter of Blair’s store, The Sugar Fairy Bakes, on Park Avenue in Mechanicville on Thursday.
“I think she’d be proud,” Blair said of her grandmother.
Blair began baking when she was 3 years old.
“My grandmother was partially paralyzed, so she would sit at the table and give me a stool and talk me through what I’m doing and why I did it the way I did it,” she said.
As she grew up that love for baking didn’t cease.
Now, she’s preparing to open her second location, a retail-only shop in Ellsworth Commons in Malta.
“We’re hoping to open early March,” she said.
Blair’s journey to opening the Malta location began in 2019. A few years after she lost her hearing, Blair decided to leave the typical restaurant scene and started baking at home. She’d sell at farmer’s markets and craft fairs.
“Business was great and really picked up and then COVID hit,” she said.
To adapt to everything being shut down due to COVID she began online ordering, allowing people to order one item a day with pre-ordering.
“That definitely skyrocketed the business even more,” she said.
She had planned to originally build a bakery Malta, but the timing didn’t work out with her investor. That partnership was postponed but Blair said she still needed to find a location.
“I needed to get out of my house,” she said. “I was bursting at the seams.”
Her son’s room became storage. The mud room became a pantry.
She had known the owner of the Golden Krust Bagels wanted to retire and he had all the equipment she needed for her business. So she moved into the location in December 2021.
On the day of her one-year ribbon cutting for the Mechanicville location, Blair announced her plans for the new location in Malta.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “Malta has been on the forefront of my mind because Malta is up and coming. It’s growing and there’s no bakeries in that area.”
She also said the demographics are a bit different in that area compared to Mechanicville and so it offers new opportunities.
“I just feel like it’s a nice little niche and I should fit in well there,” she said.
She said she’s expecting triple the number of customers in Malta than she sees in Mechanicville.
All the baked goods, which come from recipes that are over 100-years-old and from her grandmother, a friend’s grandmother and her baker’s grandmother and aunts, will continue to be made at the Mechanicville location and delivered fresh daily to the store.
The store currently offers a variety of decadent treats from savory ham and cheese croissants to giant famous eclairs and even crumb cakes.
She said her mission is to bring back nostalgia.
“Bring back those nice wholesome family feelings of when you were young and life was easy and everything was delicious.”
Thursday, Raspberry sweet rolls were the deal of the day, and on Sunday the ever-popular pop tarts are sold.
Blair also has her own protein snack line, Summit Snacks, which are high protein bars and protein balls.
She began making those for her son while he was in high school running track so he had something packed with protein that gave him energy and wasn’t made with preservatives.
“I do a lot of locally sourced items as well,” she said.
The honey and maple syrup she uses come from a family farm in Cobleskill. The eggs for the breakfast sandwiches are from a family farm in Melrose. The breakfast meats are from her baker’s family farm in Schaghticoke.
Blair said that food prices have impacted her business.
“I’m definitely more expensive than the average,” she said.
But she said that’s because she uses fresh, real, not pre-made products to make the baked goods.
“Nothing frozen, nothing out of a can,” she said.
That decision to not use pre-made products in her baked goods is something she won’t change either.
“No matter how big I get I will never compromise my recipes to save a buck,” she said. “I will not tweak something. I will not put shortening in because it’s cheaper than butter. The recipes I use, I use them for a reason.”