Markle duo turns disaster into a sweet treat


Robin Lipp (left) and Kelly Clanin have opened The Grand Sweet Shop, which offers made-to-order bakery items and candies. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

For Robin Lipp and Kelly Clanin, opportunity came in the form of a lightning strike.

The lightning strike and resulting fire destroyed the two-car garage attached to Lipp's Markle home, affording Lipp and her daughter-in-law the chance to rebuild the structure as a Board of Health-approved kitchen.

The duo started taking orders for their sweets in May, and will hold an open house this Friday and Saturday to introduce the public to The Grand Sweet Shop.

The bakery offers made-to-order cookies, pies, candies, quick breads, muffins and cupcakes along with other goodies.

Neither woman has any formal training in the baking business - with the exception of a cake decorating class Lipp took once - and rely instead on a natural ability.

"I've been baking for a long time," Lipp says, noting that she's been making mints for wedding, birthday and anniversary parties for many years. "I've just always enjoyed it."

Even before the fire, they'd looked into converting the garage into an approved kitchen, but decided it would have been too difficult to meet the Board of Health regulations.

But the requests from people wanting to buy their sweets kept coming in.

"There was a big demand," Clanin says. "If we took treats to school, people would want to order them."

With the original structure in ashes, it became easier to rebuild a kitchen that would meet Board of Health regulations, Lipp says.

One of Lipp's favorites is a fairly new item, Millionaire Shortbread, featuring a shortbread crust, a layer of caramel and Lipp's signature chocolate. The shop's buckeyes and homemade caramels are also big hits, she says.

Clanin says pies are always in demand around Thanksgiving, with the crunch top apple pie the most popular.

"Kelly's our pie person," Lipp says. "But we do it all together."

Clanin and Lipp will also prepare gift baskets, and they'll deliver for an additional fee.

The Grand Sweet Shop takes phone orders or will meet with customers in person by appointment, and most orders can be ready within 24 hours.

"No more than a couple of days if it's a large order," Clanin says.

Regular hours may be instituted in the future, Lipp says.

The open house will be held on Friday, Sept. 13, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday, Sept. 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Clanin and Lipp will serve punch and coffee as well as samples of some of their sweets, including mini-muffins, mini-cupcakes and mini-peanut butter Rice Krispie bars.

The Grand Sweet Shop is located at 565 W. Morse St., Markle, and can be found on Facebook by searching "The Grand Sweet Shop." For information, call 359-3416 or 519-3438 or email lipp.robin @yahoo.com.