What started out as a job washing dishes in a Bronx bakery has turned into a career and now small business ownership for 27-year-old Kemar Newell.
Newell is the proprietor of the recently opened Pleasantville Bakery & Cafe. He’s a highly-motivated entrepreneur who has yearned to be a bakery owner since he was 17.
“It’s something that never left my mind,” he said, recalling the 15-hour days he worked while helping his mother provide for him and the family.
Newell was able to learn a variety of baking techniques simply by watching, but he felt that more professional training would help him achieve his goal. In 2015, he enrolled in the Toronto-based Bonnie Gordon College of Confectionary Arts, where he spent an intense six weeks studying baking, pastry arts, cake design and confections.
There were other schools that Newell considered, but he chose the Canadian college for its emphasis on proper technique and ability to hone students’ creativity, he said.
Returning to New York, Newell worked at a Long Island bakery while also baking and selling cakes on the side.
“I saved every penny I could,” said Newell, who had a five-year plan to buy his dream bakery.
Newell, who commutes from the Bronx, said buying the business formerly known as Sinapi’s Bakery on Wheeler Avenue, is the culmination of his hard work and dedication. He found through a Google search that Sinapi’s was for sale and pursued the opportunity.
“It was just what I wanted,” Newell said.
Before he officially opened Pleasantville Bakery & Cafe, Newell erected a new pink and brown-striped awning at the front of the store, installed two new display cases and gave the place a fresh coat of paint.
Newell puts in long hours, to be sure. He is at the store by 3:30 a.m. baking cakes, pastries and other sweet treats. The bakery opens at 7 a.m. to attract some of the early morning commuters, many of them passing by on their way to catch a train.
Customers can order cakes for any occasion at Pleasantville Bakery & Cafe. Newell is adept at baking and decorating wedding cakes (up to five tiers), but also takes orders for other occasions. He also designs character birthday cakes.
Other cakes freshly baked by Newell and an assistant include a variety of delicious cheesecakes, cookies n’ cream, double chocolate, vanilla cakes with either lemon or chocolate filling and red velvet cakes.
Freshly baked chocolate chip, oatmeal, red velvet and M&M-flavored cookies are also available, as are pastries, cupcakes, a variety of pies and a mouth-watering apple strudel.
Knowing that he has been “blessed by an amazing opportunity,” Newell said he wants to make every customer feel welcome and provide them the highest level of service.
“I want them to know that this is a friendly bakery and that I truly love my job,” he said.
Pleasantville Bakery & Cafe is located at 57 Wheeler Ave. in Pleasantville. It is open Tuesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday and Monday.
To see the delicious items that are baked daily, visit https://pleasantvillebaker.wixsite.com/bakery. Customers will soon be able to order online and avail themselves of the bakery’s delivery service.
A 10 percent discount will be offered to customers who bring this article with them to the bakery. To place a special order, call 914-773-2014.