Lil' Nony's Breaks the Mold

OLMSTEDVILLE The large yellow storefront/apartment building on county Route 29 in Olmstedville has seen a lot of action through the years. Jack and Judy Vanderwarker and Bob and Joan Mueller purchased Strohmeyers store, a small grocery, as partners some 35 years ago. As time went on, Judy McNally Vanderwarker kept the business, turning the space into the Country Diner and hiring her sister Shirley McNally Olden. While the sisters were on vacation, a fire struck, destroying much of the building. Judy and Shirley then recovered the space and, joining in business with Shirley, the well-loved Sisters Caf頷as born. After many years of hard work, they retired and rented the commercial space to other local vendors, first continuing as a diner, then as an ice cream shop. Now as the summer season approaches, Muellers daughter (and Vanderwarkers niece), Jan Hogan, will continue the local tradition of food, fun, and family. Hogan, a lifelong resident of the Olmstedville area, currently works as a teaching assistant at Minerva Central School and has for nine years. As a child, shed hoped to own her own bakery one day, but, as she said, you meet people, you go to school, and you get distracted. Suddenly, I had a completely different life. Growing up in the old Strohmeyers store, Hogan developed an appreciation for customer service at a young age. Then, continuing to work at Sisters Caf鬠she learned work in the kitchen from her Aunt Judy and waitressing from Aunt Shirley. A love for baking developed in her earliest years when she helped her Grandmother Leona create cakes and other bakery items for friends, family, and locals. Later in life, she attended a cake decorating school with her grandmother. Everyone in my family calls me Little Leona, said Hogan. I look, sound, and bake like her. It just seemed right that I should go full force with this, but I hope Lil Nonys continues as more of a labor of love than a labor. But now a new opportunitys popped up, allowing ownership of the building to return to Hogans family and the ability to continue the family business of food. With summer just around the corner, business at school is slowing down and increased tourism is sure to bring in more revenue for local businesses. Hogan will host the grand opening of Lil Nonys Bakery as a seasonal operation on Saturday, May 26. On opening day, Hogan will sell her homemade creations with help from 12-year-old daughter Shelby, a future chocolatier. Shelby has also been part of the family business from day one, helping to decorate her mothers cakes and creations specially catered for local events, before kindergarten roundup was ever on the calendar. The bakery will run 6:30 am-1:30 pm on Saturdays and Sundays until summer vacation starts, and Wednesday through Sunday throughout the summer, serving homemade soups, cakes, doughnuts, other bakery items and fresh deli sandwiches. While these items arent exactly low-cal, there will also be items available on the menu for those with diabetic restrictions. When school starts up again, Hogan will continue as an assistant but will serve the same menu and specialty apple desserts on weekends until Labor Day. Every purchase on May 26 will earn customers a free cup of Green Mountain coffee to enjoy on the comfortable couch in the bakerys front room. Customers may also write their names down for door prize drawings every hour which include gift certificates for something as small as a free doughnut or as large as a personalized ice-cream cake. Also making an appearance on opening weekend are Judy Vanderwarker and Shirley Olden, who will continue to visit with old customers throughout the summer and support their talented niece. Free samples will also be served. Jan said she is extremely thankful for family, as without them this experience would not have been possible.

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