Jan 20, 2012
By Susan Varghese
Cookie cutters and butter-cream icing; pink walls adorned with stripes and decals and Top 40 music playing in the background can all be synonymous with a “happy place,” and that’s exactly what the owner of Breezy’s in Cedarhurst, Brielle “Breezy” Schwartz strives for.
“I like working at a place where people can come and visit and hangout and feel comfortable, even if they’re not buying anything. They can still come and look,” Schwartz said. Breezy’s is a house-ware, bake-ware and gift store that also offers baking classes and parties.
Schwartz, a Staten Island native has been living in Cedarhurst for the past seven years. She was originally co-owner of Ketzy’s in Cedarhurst, a house-ware and gift store, until she decided to expand and re-create the store in August 2011. Schwartz added a classroom, as well as bake-ware and products. The inspiration to vamp up Breezy’s was through some of her own experience. “I started really getting into baking and cooking. Every woman I speak to is obsessed with the Food Network and enamored by everything they do. I started taking culinary classes in the city.”
There was a need for kosher items with variety, Schwartz added. “It’s very hard to find things that are kosher and interesting… I was looking for a lot of things for myself and I couldn’t find things I needed, like specific cookie cutters. A of Jewish pieces don’t exist for certain holidays. I was fortunate to work with different companies and create and get stuff that I needed. Some things that are here are completely exclusive to us and there also some [products] that are in the works.”
Before getting into retail, Schwartz was involved in the family construction business. “I used to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to open the warehouse and I was exhausted… Eventually I decided that I wanted to only be around happy people…. Not people who are [all] ‘give me my coffee!’ That’s why I started this… you are what you make of yourself. I decided to create a life where I’m happy. Where my children are happy.”
Considering Schwartz bakes cookies with her kids every week for shabbos with different designs and cutters, the chances of her kids not being pleased with the new store are slim. “ For me it gives me time with my kids and something that has to be made – dessert. My kids will come in once a month to add to our cookie cutter collection at home.”
Sometimes, they even take their desire for baked goods into the classroom, Schwartz noted, citing a book report assignment her son did on gorillas. “My son on his own decided he wanted to make gorilla cookies…he brought them into school and did his own presentation. He was so proud of himself. He really did everything on his own, other than taking it in and out of the oven. Baking is something that brings your family together but it’s also great for science and great for kids’ development. That’s why we offer kids classes here.”
Breezy’s offers birthday parties and classes for kids from 5 years old and up. The classes consist of making chocolate, cake push pops and mini cakes. One time, we had a party earlier in the day for a five-year old and another one later for a 21 year old. They cost the same amount, but are geared towards the [specific] age groups.”
The store also offers classes every week from decorating to a salad class. “I find that most women are capable of following a recipe, it’s the decorating I find that most people have a hard time with. It’s tedious and time consuming, Schwartz said. “It’s very intricate.” Among the available classes, have a mini-cake decorating class and a salad and dip class that teaches how to make tuna tartare and use pipettes for dressing. All recipes are exclusive to Breezy’s.
For groups, Breezy’s can host all types of parties including bridal showers, bachelorette parties or date nights. They’ve also hosted fundraisers for different organizations and temples.
Don’t count on Schwartz to separate business and pleasure, though. Frozen cookie dough can always be found in her freezer and on her free time she can most likely be found baking. “Sugar cookies are my favorite because there so many cool things you can do with them,” she said excitedly. “I’ve made sugar cookies that hang off of a coffee cup, I’ve layered them to make a three-dimensional ballerina, put sugar cookies around a cake, use them on top of cupcakes, put them at the base of a cheesecake…”
Rina Miller, a Breezy’s employee and a pastry chef, said, “ I’m obsessed with baking, so this is amazing for me. I like it [working here] and I get excited when we have packages.”
Schwartz added that they “laugh a lot,” at the store. But, she attributes her current success to the foundation her mother laid for her as a child. “I was the oldest of six kids, and my mother always made all of us kids feel important,” Schwartz recalled. “She always brought us to the kitchen and we always spent time together as a family. We’re all still very close. She really instilled that. So, I wanted to do that when I reinvented the store to really include my children in it and bring people together. I believe that a happy customer will always come back.”
Breezy’s is located at 527 Central Avenue in Cedarhurst. (516) 374-1544. Classes must be reserved in advance in store or online. Breezysny.com
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