Updated: August 05, 2020 06:23 PM
Created: August 05, 2020 03:27 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Step into Too Pretty To Eat on West Ridge Road in Rochester and you quickly find you have a lot of difficult decisions to make. Will it be a fruit bouquet or maybe chocolate-covered strawberries? Dipped pretzels or mouth-watering baked goods?
"Too Pretty To Eat is a sweets cafe," owner Shamieka Ellis said. "We sell fruit bouquets, strawberries, also do parties. we also bake."
Ellis started the business almost two years ago. But she's been grooming for this since she was in high school at Edison Tech.
"They had a culinary program which I grew really close with my culinary teachers. And from there on I went to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Pennsylvania and from there I never stopped loving to cook," Ellis said.
She was working as a chef at a local steakhouse when she decided to venture out on her own. The hours at Too Pretty To Eat are long — it's just Ellis and her son. She says on average they create about 20 arrangements a day and deliver them to customers For Ellis, the biggest hurdle, is having enough hours in the day.
"I have to satisfy customers," she said. "I have to have great customer service even if I'm tired, I still have to make sure I have great customer service with them."
While customers can order for any occasion, she says weddings, birthday parties, baby showers and get well wishes are the biggest draw.
"I don't know if anyone else does it around town, but I customize them in a totally different way. A lot of customers love it. They inspire me to do what I do," Ellis added.
But as you can imagine, coronavirus has taken a toll on the business. She had several weddings and baby showers cancel and is still not taking walk-in orders. Customers can order online or over the phone. But she has persevered and says she's seen an uptick in business in recent weeks.
"I seen a lot of people lose businesses around me, but not me, I felt like I'm not gonna give up," she said.
Looking forward, Ellis hopes to expand, by adding more staff, delivery trucks and even has an eye on opening additional locations, Until then, she's happy knowing she can brighten someone's day.
"The best part of my job is when I go to a customer's house and they didn't know they were gonna be getting an arrangement that day," Ellis said. "And some of them cry. It's just a great feeling to make someone's day."
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