Coffee Cakes by Northern Belles opens in Bridgeport

By KIM NORTH

Times Leader Staff Writer

BRIDGEPORT – If you have a sweet tooth and you’re anywhere near downtown Bridgeport, Coffee Cakes by Northern Belles is the place to go.

Located at 306 Main Street, Coffee Cakes by Northern Belles offers a variety of products, according to Stephanie Belles, co-owner with her daughter, Morgan.

“Our (product) list is endless,” Stephanie Belles said. “We offer everything from cupcakes to birthday cakes, jams, jellies, dip mixes, seasonings, candies, cookies, party favors … .”

The Bridgeport natives began their operation two years ago in their home kitchen. They then became members of the Ohio Valley Farmer’s Market. It was then that they realized they needed a larger facility.

“Our products were selling really well, but the market was just two days a week (Thursday and Saturday),” she explained. “It was then that we decided we needed a bigger venue, so why not open our own shop where we could sell our products every day.”

As far as the location, that was a stroke of luck, or in this type of business, the icing on the cake!

“Actually, we lucked out,” Stephanie added with a smile. “This was kind of our last resort. We had looked at a lot of properties in Bridgeport that were available, but the rent was either too high and it wasn’t the kind of location we were looking for. It just so happened, as a last resort, that I was looking through the real estate ads and came across this place.

“It was actually for rent, as well as the building being for sale,” she added. “If it hadn’t been here, we were going to get a concession trailer and start a lunch truck-type of business.”

The mother-daughter tandem is working our well, according to both.

“Morgan always wanted to be her own boss,” her mother admitted. “She never wanted to work for anyone. She has always seen me working in country clubs, restaurants and places like that for someone else, putting in all the time and effort and not get the reward like you do when you’re working for yourself.”

“I love working with my mom,” Morgan was quick to point out. “We get a long great.”

The store’s brand name – Northern Belles – comes from a derision of their last name, which is pronounced Bellas, and the fact they both graduated from West Virginia Northern Community College’s Culinary School.

“We’ve only been open for two weeks, but the locals have been very supportive thus far,” Stephanie Belles added. “We’ve had phone calls from people wanting to know our hours and what type of products we have. We’ve even had some calls about placing orders and catering.

“We hope it continues and grows.”

The shop is open from 6:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, as well as Thursday through Saturday. It is closed Wednesday and Sunday. However, according to the pair, the hours will change come from June to October due to their participation in the OV Farmer’s Market.

“We feel it’s important to remain in the Farmer’s Market because of the buy-local factor,” Stephanie said. “A lot of people depend on you to be there as a vendor.”

The pair also have plans in the works for some expansion.

“We’re working on that right now,” Stephanie explained. “We have a kitchen but we’re working on getting it to commercial grade.”

For more information, or to place an order, call (740) 359-2143.

North can be reached at knorth@timesleaderonline.com