When Lindsey Barnes decided to turn her sweet idea for a business into a reality, she found the support she needed to launch her operation through The Hazleton Innovation Collaborative (THInC) and the Hazleton Kitchen Incubator.
As with many start-up entrepreneurs, Barnes began L&B's Sweet Treats, which makes a variety of hand-dipped chocolate confections, at the request of family and friends who were looking for desserts for their special occasions.
In fact, Barnes said she initially got the idea for the business while planning her wedding. The unexpected free time she had during the COVID-19 pandemic helped her launch the operation.
“During the height of COVID-19 and businesses being shut down, I started to cook and bake more and found it to be a very relaxing hobby. Then, family and friends started reaching out to ask if I could make treats for birthday parties, showers, or the holidays. I felt so honored to have my treats be a part of their special day.”
Barnes said her family and friends encouraged her to start her own business and her mother and sister-in-law told her to look into the Hazleton Kitchen Incubator.
Several THInC partners played a role in helping Barnes launch her business within the kitchen incubator, located with the Hayden Family Center for the Arts in Downtown Hazleton. She worked with CAN DO to complete necessary forms, learn more about the kitchen space, and make necessary business connections; Penn State’s Hazleton LaunchBox helped with pricing her items; and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Wilkes University assisted her in filing for an LLC.
After going through the process to launch her business, Barnes said she feels it's “extremely valuable” to be able to connect with organizations like CAN BE and the LaunchBox.
“I encourage anyone living in the local area who wants to start a small business to reach out to these resources. They provide step-by-step instructions so important information does not get missed. They want you to get it right and they offer a ton of support to help your small business succeed. They are exactly who I needed to get my business up and running,” she said.
She added that having access to the Hazleton Kitchen Incubator right in Downtown Hazleton made the decision to start a culinary business much easier.
“It gives people who are unable to operate their business from home, or those that do not have the funds starting out, the opportunity to still do something they love and get their business started,” Barnes said. “I would tell others that it's a very smart choice to start in the kitchen incubator and it can help cut down on some of the costs in the beginning.”
L&B's Sweet Treats is now fully operational and offers a variety of treats, including cake pops, chocolate-covered Oreos, chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-covered peanut butter crackers, chocolate- and caramel-covered apples and chocolate-covered strawberries, for any occasion.
Barnes plans to establish a social media page and website where she can advertise her products and take orders. She also hopes to participate in pop-up events to help get her business name out there. She plans to stay in the kitchen incubator for at least a year until she is able to hopefully open her own store.
For her first big event, she will participate in Saturday's Celebrate Big with the Hayden Family Center for the Arts event. “I'm excited to take part in this event and want to thank Alicia Hayden Gomba for the great opportunity,” she said. “I am looking forward to this next chapter in my life and this would not be possible without the support of so many people.”