By Jennifer Sheehan, Of The Morning Call
Amy Cozze graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004 with a dual degree in psychology and business administration.
After a few years, she found she just wasn't feeling the passion for her work.
Her grandmother gave her some sound advice — take up baking.
"She was the one who gave me the nudge," Cozze says.
With no formal pastry training (just a degree from the School of Grandma), she started a cake business from her Moore Township home, working at night.
Her business took off, and big opportunities came her way, including designing a cake for the opening of the Sands Bethlehem Event Center in May.
Eventually she outgrew the space in her home and about a week ago, she opened a store, Cozze Cakes on Nazareth's historic Main Street.
The shop specializes in wedding and special occasion cakes.
"Not having formal training is a benefit," Cozze says.
Her homegrown pastry background helps her look beyond traditional cake styles, she says.
"I don't say no often," she says of customer requests.
Among the contemporary cakes on display in her shop was a wedding cake with a stained-glass effect. The cake is wrapped in fondant. Cozze then used food coloring dissolved in vodka to achieve a watercolor look that she painted onto panes of the cake.
The stylish look of her cakes is as important as the taste, Cozze says. Her signature flavor cake is key lime (not your typical chocolate or vanilla).
She also offers traditional cake flavors as chocolate, vanilla, red velvet and marble, and fillings such as chocolate creme, peanut butter, lemon and strawberry.
Premium cake combinations include white chocolate-covered strawberry, which is strawberry cake with white chocolate ganache filling; dulce de leche cheese cake, which is a caramel cake with cheesecake filling; and pumpkin roll, a pumpkin cake with cream cheese filling and coarse cinnamon sugar.
In addition to cakes, Cozze also does cupcakes.
Her S. Main Street storefront, once home to an orthopedic sales store, needed some work before she could move her business in. She had to retrofit it for food service.
Now it's a pretty shop with a stylish feel. "Keep calm. Eat cake," read letters emblazoned across the main wall of the shop.
Cozze Cakes is at 143 S. Main St. Nazareth. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Tastings are available by appointment only. To find out more, call 610-746-9175, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to cozzecakes.com . (Note: Cozze says it's best to contact her through email.) She's also on Facebook.
In Easton, RJ Walker Co. has opened a wholesale and retail plumbing, heating and air-conditioning store at 999 Bushkill Drive, Easton. A family-owned and operated business, the company has several other locations throughout Pennsylvania. Hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.
For more information, call 484-373-3250 or go to http://www.rjwalker.com
Turning to the Promenade Shops, Capital Blue Cross' first retail store, Capital Blue is now open (next to Lucky Brand). The store offers a wide range of insurance programs as well as interactive and wellness-advice programs. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call 1-855-505-BLUE.
In Emmaus, Turn The Page, a reading center for children ages 4-12, is now open at Fourth and Chestnut streets. Turn The Page is designed specifically for kids to have a fun place to excel, enjoy and grow a love for reading. Programs to strengthen skills and book clubs are offered. To find out more call 610-509-6556 or go to http://www.turnthepageforkids.com.
Altered Images Hair Studio is set to open full time Jan. 8 at 507 N. 22nd St. Allentown. Tim Dopsovic and partner Joanie Dasilva are both master stylists with a combined experience of more than 40 years in all aspects of coloring, cutting and hair design. Call 484-895-9461 for more information.
Jennifer Sheehan is temporarily filling in for Retail Watch reporter Irene Kraft. Retail Watch keeps track of new store, restaurant and bank development in the Lehigh Valley. Have a question about a retail construction project, a store opening or a chain you'd like to see come to the area? Email email@example.com. And we're back on Twitter @callretailwatch. Retail Watch appears every Sunday. Follow breaking news on our new Lehigh Valley Restaurants blog, themorningcall.com/restaurants.