made. by lia photo by lauren healey

First Look: Made. by Lia in Old Town Florissant

Old Town Florissant will be even sweeter when Made. by Lia opens at 610 Rue St. Francis in mid-August.

Owner Lia Weber, who lives just a block from her new shop, won TLC’s “Next Great Baker” in 2014, which helped her grow a social media following that she credits for some of her pre-opening success. 

“It feels like forever ago, but people are still watching it on Hulu,” she said. “My following has been very supportive. We started pop-ups on Mother’s Day and would do them every other week. We would sell out in like 10 minutes – hundreds of dozens of things. We were cranking it out like crazy. Last week, we did a curbside pop-up farmers market-style with tables with sweets and coffee samples, and there was a line down the street. Even in this 90-degree weather, people were willing to wait.”

Her following also helped her Kickstarter campaign that launched about two weeks ago. “We had a goal of $15,000, and we exceeded it in under 24 hours,” she said. “It really helped us because with [the shutdowns], all my wedding cakes canceled or rescheduled, which is kind of the backbone and keeps your bills paid. We were really banking on that for this spring, and that chunk of income didn’t happen.”

The bakery was originally slated to open in April, but the coronavirus slowed the process. “We totally had to shift the plans but, in a weird way, it’s been kind of a blessing because I had more time to train my staff, make sure the ovens worked properly, stuff like that,” she said.

Specialty cakes to order will likely make up about half the business, but staple sweets in stock at the bakery will include lemon-meringue tarts, French macarons, cake bombs (cake pops without sticks), and St. Louie cake, Weber’s less-sweet version of gooey butter cake, which will come in rotating flavors like pumpkin spice, chocolate chip, Oreo, raspberry swirl and more. There will also be regular offerings for those with dietary restrictions, including gluten-free and vegan options. Rotating items will include various kinds of muffins, scones and cookies. Eventually, Weber would like to add savory foods like avocado toast.

For beverages, there will be uber-local North County Roasting Co. (just a few blocks from the bakery) coffee for lattes, cappuccinos and the like, as well as Komblu Kombucha, also locally owned.

The space is bright and airy with white tiles and splashes of flora throughout. “We want people to feel at home,” she said. “It’s a very cozy, hip neighborhood vibe, tucked away in this little gem of Old Town Florissant.”

Soft opening hours will be 7:30 a.m. until sold out Thursday through Saturday, with full hours till 2 p.m. once the shop fully opens, which will depend on the state of the pandemic.

Check social media for pop-up and opening date announcements.