The Times West Virginian

Business

June 29, 2014

Support allows Noteworthy Sweets to expand

FAIRMONT — Noteworthy Sweets LLC is very thankful for the support of the community, which has allowed the business to expand.

“It’s nice to have Fairmont receive us the way that they did,” said owner Gwen Hoffmaster.

She opened the shop, located in downtown Fairmont at 91 Fairmont Ave. in the historic Crawford Building, in July of 2010. The space, which Hoffmaster leases from the Fairmont Community Development Partnership, started out with seating for 13 customers.

She said the business soon got to the point where it didn’t have room to seat all of its customers at lunchtime, and did a lot of take-out orders as a result. Plus, the restaurant was getting more requests for in-house catering, but the space wasn’t big enough to fit the needs of most groups.

When Aspire Uniqueness Boutique, the former neighboring store in the building, recently closed, the FCDP asked Hoffmaster if she was interested in growing her operations.

With the success that Noteworthy Sweets had been experiencing, she thought, “Why not?”

Several months were spent expanding the restaurant to include the space next door. The business can now seat a total of 60 customers and has the ability to offer in-house catering for bigger groups meeting for special occasions. People are already starting to book the space for events, Hoffmaster said.

The new section continues the same relaxing, green-and-white color scheme that is featured in the original part of the restaurant. At the request of customers, Noteworthy Sweets has also kept the same menu.

The food options range from sandwiches, soups and vegetarian options, to pasta, meat entrees and small dinners. In terms of desserts, the business offers cakes, pies, scones, pastries and more. Customers can’t get enough of the homemade bread, either.

Hoffmaster said everything available at the shop is homemade, and nothing is pre-packaged. Also, the restaurant offers farm-to-table dining, with fruits and vegetables brought in from area farmers.

Noteworthy Sweets has five employees and also works with interns from Fairmont State University.

Hoffmaster, who lives in Fairmont but is originally from Ridgeley, has been cooking and baking all of her life. Growing up, she learned these skills by working in the kitchen with her mother, grandmother and neighbors.

Her own kids are interested in cooking and food, too, and the whole family loves to eat. Her husband Michael handles the financing for the business.

They have four children: David, who is married to Kelly; Jordan, who is married to Sarah; Benjamin, who is married to Maresa; and Rachel. Jordan and Sarah have two sons, 7-year-old Isak and 4-year-old Elijah.

Hoffmaster said God opened this door for her family with Noteworthy Sweets, and now they’re trying to pass that blessing on to Fairmont.

Bob Gribben, executive director of the FCDP, said Noteworthy Sweets has more than doubled its space. People now have a very nice place where they can hold small special events.

Customer parking is available alongside the Crawford Building as well as behind the freight house, where Mi Pueblo is currently located, and behind the YMCA building, which is also known as the old Moose lodge. These are all properties that the FCDP owns, Gribben said.

Noteworthy Sweets has made a lot of progress since it opened about four years ago, he said. The business has invested in its equipment and received support for the renovations through the FCDP, which was able to acquire low-interest loans through the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the project.

Ned Luthy of Omni Associates-Architects in Fairmont provided assistance on the design, and Dave Koren of Visions In Design was the contractor.

“They’ve done a really nice job,” Gribben said. “We do think it’s a top-rate project. We’re very excited about the place.”

The FCDP hosted a grand opening and ribbon-cutting celebration for Noteworthy Sweets on Wednesday, June 25.

During the event, Gribben said the FCDP is pleased that it has something special going on in the Crawford Building and other buildings in Fairmont, which is helping to encourage other development.

“We’re trying to make Fairmont a better place, and it takes teamwork to do that,” Gribben said.

Nick Fantasia, the master of ceremonies for the event, said the block where Noteworthy Sweets is now located was viewed as a challenge a decade ago. But with lots of support over the years from the FCDP and other leaders, that challenge has been turned into an opportunity.

Judge Michael Aloi, who is a regular customer at Noteworthy Sweets, served as the guest speaker during the festivities.

“I grew up in a family of small business,” he said. “People have no idea what it is to run a small business, what it takes out of you.”

Hoffmaster operates Noteworthy Sweets because she loves it, Aloi said. He commented that the restaurant is a beautiful, safe place where people are kind to each other and enjoy one another’s company, and the food is wonderful.

Noteworthy Sweets LLC is open 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 304-366-6683.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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