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A self-taught baker dreamed of owning her own business. Now, she's running Sweet Dreams in Lenox

Murray makes cookies

Pittsfield native Cheryl Murray bakes cookies at Sweet Dreams, a new bakery and sweet shop that opened Thursday at 51 Church St. in Lenox.

LENOX — For Cheryl Murray, the chance to run her own bakery is a longtime dream turned into reality.

On Thursday, the doors opened to Sweet Dreams, a shop offering a rotating menu of seasonal baked goods, candy and, in the warm weather months, small-batch ice cream made on the site.

Of course, it was Murray who came up with the name.

The shop, in the former home of The Scoop, is cryptocurrency entrepreneur Ryan Salame’s newest downtown venture. He acquired it last fall from Jenn Nacht, the owner since 2008 who’s executive director of the town’s Chamber of Commerce.

Adding an ice cream and sweets shoppe complements his Firefly Gastropub and Olde Heritage Tavern, Salame pointed out. He is also revamping the former Cafe Lucia into a tapas-style pub and eatery called Cookout. He recently acquired the long-vacant Franklin Street restaurant building that housed Lenox Pizza for many years.

Sweet Dreams has two seasonal business models, Murray said. From November through April, it will focus on her baked-from-scratch muffins, cookies, scones, cinnamon rolls, old-fashioned layer cakes and quiches, as well as coffee and tea.

It’s open for business at 51 Church St. Thursdays through Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and she arrives at 5 a.m. to fire up the oven and begin baking. The standard menu will be spiced up with specials, she said.

Map of Sweet Dreams

“I like to be creative, tweak my recipes, so this is a dream come true, and it’s sweet,” said Murray, a Pittsfield native.

From sometime in May through October, ice cream, fresh-baked cookies and a full-fledged candy store will be the attractions, open seven days from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., expanding into the adjacent retail space, formerly Twigs, to provide indoor seating and additional retail space.

The ice cream will be made in-house, with 10 standard flavors as well as weekly and season specials and three soft-serve choices. Crescent Creamery dairy products and other locally sourced ingredients will be used.

The “high season” candy shop features nostalgic candy favorites, including Sky Bars, Jawbreakers, and Bit-O-Honey, and fill-a-bag “penny” candy (various gummies, Bottle Caps, and Mary Janes). Also featured: containers of loose candy, so customers can create a mix of their choice. Pre-packaged bags of M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces and Hershey’s Kisses will be available as well as sugar-free candy.

As she popped a batch of cookies into the oven on opening day Thursday, Murray explained that, along with many other career ventures, she’s a self-taught baker. The Pittsfield native and resident credited her longtime friend, Jane Blanchard, who oversees day to day operations for Salame’s Lenox Eats brand, for helping Murray land her first business venture.

Blanchard restocks the bakery case

Emily Blanchard restocks the bakery case while Cheryl Murray puts some cookies in the oven at Sweet Dreams, a new bakery and sweet shop in Lenox.

“I’ve had many jobs,” Murray acknowledged — the list includes 26 years at the former Church Street Cafe, several years at Cafe Lucia, a post in the state Department of Agriculture’s soil conservation service, a clinician at Hillcrest Educational Centers, and most recently, running drug tests on the mass spectrometer at Berkshire Medical Center. Her children are grown, but her mother still lives in Pittsfield.

Along the way, Murray honed her baking skills, including classes at King Arthur Baking Co. in Norwich, Vt. She favors fresh, seasonal fruits and locally sourced ingredients, whenever possible. She has also worked at the K Shack, a warm-weather roadside sandwich shop in New Lebanon, N.Y.

“It’s exciting to be able to offer a place with a relaxed atmosphere where everyone is welcome to sit down with a cup of coffee and a sweet treat, and have an opportunity to connect with the downtown community,” she said of her newest venture.

Or, putting it another way, sweet dreams are made of this.

“I’m excited to add another business to the Lenox Eats family,” Salame said, “particularly as Sweet Dreams adds to the number of year-round full-service food and beverage opportunities available to Berkshire residents and visitors.”

The outside of Sweet Dreams, a new bakery and sweet shop

Sweet Dreams, a new bakery and sweet shop, opened  Thursday at 51 Church St. in Lenox.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com, on Twitter @BE_cfanto or at 413-637-2551.

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