WESTFIELD — Christine Gustafson’s sweet dream is coming true with the opening of Chrissy G’s Bakery this Saturday.
Gustafson, who retired last month from her 21-year career as a city emergency services dispatcher, is getting ready to open her bakery at 124 Elm St., Westfield.
“Grand opening is Saturday, Oct. 9 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” said Gustafson. “We will have a variety of goodies for sale, raffles, and also a selfie wall where customers can take pictures and hashtag us.”
City and state officials have been invited to a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m.
Owning a bakery was a goal for Gustafson since she first starting baking for fun, and people said she should sell her treats.
“I’ve wanted to open my own bakery for a long time, and now that it is actually happening, I am excited,” said Gustafson. “I feel like I am actually accomplishing something in my life that is mine, and find that I am very fortunate to have such a wonderful, supportive husband, family and friends.”
Gustafson said the process of opening “was a long road but worth it in the end.”
“We had some ups and downs where things didn’t go as planned, but we adapted and found different ways to make it work,” she said. “Of course, working with amazing contractors and distributors helped the process a lot.”
In addition to planning the menu, Gustafson said designing the space — previously Skyline Beer Co. — was a lot of fun.
Gustafson’s favorite color, purple, is the aesthetic star, along with soothing greys and touches of black and white.
“When you walk in you get a homey feeling and find it comfortable and welcoming,” she said. “We have eight tables so customers can come in and have a cup of coffee and eat a pastry or two. Or if they want something more comfortable, we have a lounge area where there is a TV, fireplace, couch [which she reupholstered herself in purple] and a couple chairs.”
Gustafson said customers can sit and read the paper, work on their computers or just watch TV.
“We have great wi-fi, so students can do their schoolwork or customers can finish up their work,” she added.
Cheesecake is Gustafson’s specialty and she plans to have numerous options.
“We will be offering a variety such as pumpkin, New England apple crisp, plain, New York, Chocolate Reese’s Peanut Butter, cannoli, and, well, the list goes on,” she said.
In addition to her often-requested cheesecake, Gustafson plans to have numerous other treats, including cakes, cannoli, eclairs, pastries such as danish and turnovers, cinnamon buns, cookies, cupcakes, mini-cheesecakes, cake pops, breads, coffee, tea, cold brew coffee and juices and water.
“We also have jams and we will be selling containers of the coffee beans, if customers love the coffee and want to make it at home,” Gustafson said.
Gustafson will be at the shop daily, baking and selling her goodies along with her stepdaughter Leanne, who Gustafson said “has been a godsend. She has been working hard with me throughout this entire process and is such a life-saver.”
Gustafson also credits her husband, Ken, who has been her “biggest supporter,” she said.
“He pushed me into believing in myself and that I could do this. He has been my side throughout this entire process showing amazing support,” she said.
Gustafson also thanked her mother, Ann Lentini, “who has always believed in me and is always there for me when I need her. My children, Anthony and Angela, who have been understanding and supportive throughout this entire process. Leann, who not only will be working at the bakery but is my righthand woman. I couldn’t have done this without her business knowledge and organizational skills. She always kept me on track and is always there when I need her.”
Gustafson also thanked her contractors, Roy, Mark and Kendra, “who all did an amazing job with remodeling, electrical, and painting. I couldn’t have done it without any of their help. And my dearest friends, thank you for all your support and encouragement, it really meant a lot to me.”
Gustafson said that the bakery was meant to be, she just didn’t know it until recently.
“This journey is me finally figuring out what I want to do when I grow up,” she said. “It may have taken me 20-plus years to get here, but now that I am I feel as if I am ready. This journey a dream come true, a chance to do what I love and also make a living out of it. This journey is a chance to be just me and to also continue to learn new things, stay active, and live life.”
While Gustafson enjoys baking cakes of all flavors, her personal favorite is a coconut cake with a cream cheese icing that she plans to share with her customers. She said she is very excited to start her dream and hopes customers will keep coming back for more.
“My hopes for this place is to give the public a choice for good, home-cooked desserts that they will enjoy and want to keep coming back for more,” said Gustafson. “I want to give them a place to relax and enjoy a peaceful place, have a cup of coffee, and regroup for the day. “
Chrissy G’s takes special orders and can be ordered at the bakery, through Facebook Messenger or at 413-579-5867. The Chrissy G’s Bakery website will be up and running soon.