The Sweet Life
For Donna Maloney, owner of The Sweet Spot at St. Roch Market, business is best kept all in the family.
Donna Maloney is the owner of The Sweet Spot, the sole bakery vendor at the new St. Roch Market. Her love of baking sweet treats comes from old family recipes, and they are a hit with visitors at the newly opened downtown hotspot.
“I have been a home baker all of my life,” says Donna Maloney, owner of The Sweet Spot bakery at St. Roch Market. “All of my recipes come from friends or family and I have fine-tuned them to where I feel that they are their best. My grandmother was a baker, as were my mom and aunt. Many of my recipes are from them and I have been baking them all of my life. I still have my mother’s banana bread recipe typed on a manual typewriter from the ’50s. It's the best banana bread I've ever eaten. I make everything from scratch with quality ingredients every day, so everything is super fresh.”
For Maloney, owning her own bakery is a dream realized after many years. Patrons love her cookies, cakes and cinnamon rolls baked fresh daily. She even offers vegan and gluten-free baked goods and birthday cakes with twenty-four hours notice.
“I had always dreamed of owning my own bakery and decided to get out of the healthcare field after 25 years,” says Maloney. “I began baking for local coffee shops a few years ago and when I heard about St. Roch Market looking for a baker I jumped on it.”
With 16 vendors and a beautiful newly renovated interior, St. Roch Market has been attracting both locals and tourists in droves.
“The owners of St. Roch Market did a wonderful job picking all of the vendors,” she says. “Each one of them is different and the food quality is wonderful. When I went in for my interview, I brought along a little goodie box and I think it worked; they were eating everything out of that box through the entire interview. It is a wonderful opportunity for a small business; there is low cost getting started and they did such a good job with marketing and PR that we were busy right off the bat.”
Donna started by building her team, many of whom are members of her family.
“When I got accepted, I really wanted my daughters to be involved,” says Maloney. “But I didn't want to persuade them, they were both in careers they enjoyed. My youngest daughter, Jac took a little while and then decided that she wanted to pursue this with me and quit her job. She has been an amazing asset. She handles much of the business, PR, and employees as well as helping me bake. I can't imagine doing it without her. She puts in the long, tough hours and I know that she's got my back. My oldest daughter, Kerry Lynn is also helping out filling in shifts as needed and lending her ear and giving her much appreciated and very savvy advice.”
As for where the name of her business came from, Maloney says she enjoys a good double entendre.
“I wanted a name for the business that was alluring, something that made you feel like you couldn't turn it down,” she says. “I am in Tap Dat, which is a tap dancing Krewe and I wanted something like that that had a dual meaning. The Sweet Spot just seemed like the natural choice.”
For the staff and vendors at St. Roch, opening hasn’t been without a few bumps in the road. The grand opening was met with much press and excitement, but the location was recently vandalized, which left the team stunned and saddened. However, even with shattered windows to be fixed and spray paint to be cleaned off, the market was buzzing with customers the very next night.
“Getting St. Roch Market off of the ground was a bigger endeavor than any of us could have imagined,” says Maloney. “All the other vendors are so helpful. We all give each other advice, pick up items from the store and share whatever we can. It's been a wonderful experience to help each other reach for the same goal.”
In the coming months, Donna and her team will be offering a variety of hot weather-friendly treats. Her daughter, Jac has been working on her own line of homemade ice cream, which they recently launched. They’re also considering creating ice cream-based cocktail floats for summer. Ice cream cookie sandwiches, and fruit cobbler à la mode are also in the game plan.
“I am so happy that everyone loves our sweets,” says Maloney. “I am developing a wonderful staff that shares my love of baking and we love to see how happy people are to eat it.”
Check out The Sweet Spot at the new St. Roch Market. 2381 St. Claude Ave.