After years of dreaming, hard work and building their businesses, QC Sweet Boutique is the icing on the cake — or cookie — for bakers Rebecca Mabis and Addie Corby-Winn.
Mabis, of Hampton, who makes cookies and more for her business, Sugar* A La Mode, and Corby-Winn, of Rock Island, who crafts modern cakes and more for her business, Little Sweets Cake Design, have joined forces for QC Sweet Boutique, an amalgamation of the two’s delectable and beautiful treats.
The bakery, 133 1st Ave. W., Milan, is open 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays. (It will be open by appointment only for custom orders during the week.)
Mabis and Corby-Winn had been pursuing their own sweet ventures for a few years each, baking out of their homes before working out of commercial church kitchens, Corby-Winn said. The two met at The Market, a collection of vendors with handmade products, clothing and more on the second floor of the Spotlight Theatre in downtown Moline. Mabis had a space there, and Corby-Winn offered a cake workshop.
Corby-Winn said she has always loved baking, and after running Little Sweets Cake Design as a stress reliever and creative outlet for a few years on the side, made the leap last year from teaching high school art to baking full-time. Little Sweets specializes in modern wedding cakes, birthday cakes and more.
Mabis had created Sugar* A La Mode in 2016 “out of a desire for cute cookies to taste better than they looked,” she said. It specializes in just that, plus other confections for any occasion.
At The Market, “we just chatted a little,” Corby-Winn said. Mabis asked her to grab coffee sometime, the two ordered from each other, and they planned to collaborate on a workshop or something in the future.
But then “everything shut down because of the (COVID-19) virus,” Corby-Winn said. “We were just kind of getting that partnership going, and then it ramped-up real quick.”
“We both wanted a bakery,” Corby-Winn said, but not necessarily a daily retail space. The two had talked about one day getting out of their church kitchens, she said, but “I knew that I couldn’t do it alone, just (not) from any standpoint — emotional, financial,” she said.
Instead, she had hopes of opening a bakery with a supportive person who “cares like I care,” she said. “It was sooner than I thought it was going to be,” but when the opportunity fell into her lap, she said, “I’m not going to say no.”
Mabis, who had always wanted her own bakery even in high school when she tried to get someone to take a Wilton decorating class with her, said she knew she couldn’t operate a bakery by herself.
And then the stars aligned.
“I received an email from the previous bakery’s owner on a Tuesday morning asking if I’d be interested in purchasing a bakery, and Addie was the first person I thought of (to do it with),” Mabis said.
Around 9 a.m. that day, she texted Corby-Winn, “‘Hey, do you want to go see about a bakery?’” By 3 p.m., “we had seen it and decided we wanted to pursue it.”
Within two weeks, the two had made an offer, had a purchase agreement, and began moving in last month.
“And the rest is baking history,” Mabis said.
The two plan to stock a variety of offerings each Saturday, from several flavors of cookies, scones and pie slices to Rice Krispies treats, cake slices and brownies, with a handful of gluten-free and keto-friendly options, too.
With their own custom baking businesses now under one roof, Corby-Winn is happy with the variety of things the two will be able to offer their customers, such as cake and cookie packages, birthday- and wedding-related items and more.
“We care so much about our products (and) making sure that it is done in a way that we would want it,” Corby-Winn said.
At Saturday’s grand opening, a host of area vendors also will be on hand, offering everything from boutique items to popcorn. A limited number of people will be allowed into the bakery at once to comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and masks/facial coverings are required.
Mabis and Corby-Winn are happy to finally have a storefront where they can meet customers, collaborate with other area small businesses and more.
“I get to talk to people, and I get to (hear) why they chose us,” Mabis said. “For me, that’s why I keep going. … My repeat clients are my favorites because I’ve done something to make them happy, so I want to do that here, too.”
QC Sweet Boutique will be open 7 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, and by appointment only for custom orders during the week. For more information, call 563-265-0907 or visit: qc-sweet-boutique.business.site, facebook.com/QCSweetBoutique, facebook.com/little.sweets.cakes or facebook.com/sugaralamode.
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