by Bill Batson
If you take a seat at Hartell’s Deli in Upper Nyack most weekdays, you can be the unofficial taste tester for Nyack Sweets. Regulars at the Deli are privy to the production kitchen where Lisa Chang transforms water, flour and sugar and the lessons of her Italian immigrant mother, into the decadent concoctions that kiddies and foodies dream about.
Here’s the story about how a fashion designer became the baker her mother always intended her to be. Also learn how Chang has teamed up with the Nyack Sketch Log and Teagevity’s Preston Powell to reprise their annual Nyack holiday gift set.
Where did you get your baking chops?
My mother is a master bread and cookie make. She immigrated from Italy and raised 4 girls and made us make food and treats from scratch our whole life. She still surprises me with new and delicious things!
When did you launch Nyack Sweets?
I actually worked in fashion for 15 years as a designer and later a product developer. Once I started having children, it started getting harder and harder to keep traveling for work and leaving my babies home. I always loved to bake and I started making my children elaborate birthday cakes. Friends started asking me to make their children’s birthday cakes and it just took on a life of its own.
I’ve been making sweets in Nyack for close to 9 years now, but I made it official in 2017 with Nyack sweets
What are some of the biggest challenges of running a business?
Balancing work and family.
Being a mom raising three kids, and a foodie entrepreneur, you must live in the kitchen. How many hours do you clock each week in front on the stove?
A LOT! I cook proper breakfasts and dinners for the kids (and husband) everyday – make myself lunch when I’m home and then I bake bake bake any free hours I have while the kids are in school- either for us at home or at Hartell’s Deli for everyone else. So probably anywhere from 25-40 hours a week
Are you the only confectionist? Does anyone help produce your concoctions?
I’m a one woman show when it comes to the baking, dipping and decorating. Although my mom has definitely helped me out a bunch. I have had some help from some wonderful friends and family too when I need it especially with packaging!!
Do you have a taste tester? How can one apply for that job?
Hahaha my number 1 taste tester is my 5 year old James- he loves sweets almost as much as I do and has no problem telling me how it is. Also, if you sit at the bar in Hartell’s any morning I’m there your bound to get a taste of something I’m working on to go with your coffee!
Are there any other entrepreneurs in the family? What are the benefits of having two entrepreneurs under one roof?
My darling husband is an entrepreneur and jack of all trades! He does residential and commercial real estate, is a Lulu Lemon ambassador, teaches Crossfit and is a volunteer firefighter to name a few.
The benefit of having two entrepreneurs under one roof is that we can be flexible. We both left corporate jobs so we can spend more time with our children and be more involved in their day to day. Between the two of us and all the hats we wear we meet a lot of people. We love bringing people together and connecting people that otherwise would not have met.
Do you think there is one item that put you on the map?
I think people like working with me for a special custom cake but cake pops have certainly become my number 1 selling item.
What are some of the fan favorite’s?
Vanilla cake pops are for sure a favorite, as are chocolate covered Oreos and but chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies are big winners at Hartell’s.
What happens at one of your cupcake decorating parties?
Cupcake decorating parties are all about letting people be creative – I can’t have all the fun!
I create a package of the customers favorite flavor cupcakes naked (without any icing or decoration). I bring fresh Swiss meringue buttercream in a color of their choice or chocolate buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a star tip… and a selection of fun toppings sprinkles, chocolate chips- possibilities are endless.
Everything is laid out on a table so their guests can decorate away and enjoy their creations instantly.
Nyack Gift 2.0
There are two Nyack Gift Sets. The Rockland County Set consists of a NEW Nyack Sketch Log inspired mug by Bill Batson, 1.5 oz bag of loose Organic Assam tea from Preston Powell’s Teagevity and two mini chocolate covered Oreos and two pieces of almond orange nougat. The deluxe set includes a Rockland County mug and a Nyack mug, Assam tea and a steep and two full size chocolate covered Oreos and 4 pieces of nougat.
Pre-order until November 29 for a $10 discount.
Order at Nyackgift.com. Photo at Hartell’s by Raymond Wright.
It’s great to see your logo up at Hartell’s Deli in Upper Nyack? How long have you had that association?
Hartell’s has been so good to me! I love working in that space and with that team!
I started using the kitchen at Hartell’s in early 2018. I would go in late at night when they were closed and work in the middle of the night- like an elf! Adding cupcakes and cake pops to the refrigerator and fresh cookies on the counter. I only added a table at the bar this September right after having my son so I could do some baking in the morning while he naps- no more late night for me right now. Actually, it’s been fun baking with company and getting to talk to customers while I work.
Where else can one find their Nyack Sweets?
Hartell’s of course. I also do seasonal products for The Editor in Nyack. I’ll also be doing some holiday fairs- see my website for updates!
Are you exited to be teaming you for a second year with Teagevity’s estimable Preston Powell and the peripatetic illustrator and essayist, Bill Batson?
Yes! As always these classy guys know how to make things fun while making quality products locally. It’s so fun to work with them
What are you offering this year
I have two options this year- the Rockland county gift set has two mini chocolate covered Oreos and two pieces of a very special almond orange nougat (family recipe) in the deluxe set you get two full size chocolate covered Oreos and 4 pieces of nougat.
Where can one get a Nyack Gift Set?
What’s next for Nyack Sweets?
I have lots of ideas! For one I think I’m finally ready to start talking to brides and doing more wedding cakes and favors.
An activist, artist and writer, Bill Batson lives in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Nyack Sketch Log: Nyack Sweets” © 2019 Bill Batson. Visit billbatsonarts.com to see more.