Kira’s Sweet Bakes re-opens in Mantua, now with an in-house kitchen

Photo via Kira's Sweet Bakes

For years, Kira Crawford has dreamed of owning her own “teeny, tiny bake shop.”

With the reopening of her bakery, Kira’s Sweet Bakes in Mantua, on May 4, she made her dream come true.

Crawford’s business has come a long way since its roots.

As a child, she spent hours baking in the kitchen with her mother. Her memories are full of sweet treats and traditional recipes, the first of which she learned was peach cobbler.

In fact, that very cobbler became one of her signature items after starting a small business in 2021 selling sweets out of her home to a business in Mantua. Calling it Kira’s Sweet Bakes, Crawford ran that business for a year before she decided she wanted something more.

“It was a big hit. They loved my cakes. They loved my cookies. And so I said, ‘It’s time for me to take a deep dive out and a big leap of faith,’” Crawford said.

In 2022, she and her husband, Gary Crawford, turned the business into a bake shop on Prospect Street in Mantua.

Crawford said that customers loved her cakes and cookies. But there was one problem: There was no kitchen.

Crawford’s commitment to the shop led her to bake all night at home and run the store all day.

“I loved what I was doing, but I was tired. I was worn out,” she said.

Because the building was not up to code for adding a kitchen, renovating was not plausible. The couple shut down their business after one year of running it, deciding to look for a new place that already had a kitchen.

A year passed, and the Crawfords began to be contacted by village officials and others in the Mantua community. A new location had become available on Main Street in Mantua, previously the Main Street Sub Shop, and some people in the community thought it would be a good fit for Kira’s Sweet Bakes.

The Crawfords jumped on the opportunity. On May 4, Kira’s Sweet Bakes had its grand reopening, complete with attendance from Mantua’s mayor, the local chamber of commerce, other businesses in the area and members of the community.

“I’m so grateful to Mantua village,” Crawford said. “I love this city. I love the people.”

Mantua-Shalersville Area Chamber of Commerce president, Randy Ellis, said Kira’s Sweet Bakes is one of many businesses helping to centralize the shopping experience in Mantua.

“Small businesses like Kira’s add to the collection of goods and services available locally so our families don’t have to leave the local area to get the items they need,” Ellis said.

He said that small businesses in Mantua also make shopping more personal.

“Maybe you have to walk from store to store instead of down different aisles, but it’s a much more pleasant shopping experience as you converse with the business owners who actually know you and your family,” Ellis said. “You aren’t just a credit card to the checkout person.”

Crawford leans into this personalized feel. Having a bake shop means she is able to connect with her community and see people’s reactions to her sweets.

“I love the response that I get from people when they enjoy the things that I create that make me happy,” she said.

Kira’s Sweet Bakes is open at its new location on 10698 Main St. Tuesdays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays. She sells out of her signature items, including peach cobbler, cinnamon rolls and pepperoni rolls, almost every day.

When asked what she hopes for the future of her business, she said, “I’m just going to enjoy the journey one day at a time because I’m having fun, I’m having so much fun doing what I’m doing. Who knows what it could turn into?”

Crawford said it brings her comfort to be able to share something sweet with a community she loves so much.

“You have to come by and try something of mine so I can put a smile on your face,” she said.

Lauren Cohen
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