What began in 1979 as a cottage business operating in a two-car garage has grown to become a globally recognized brand in desserts.
The impressive success story makes Sandy Solmon – founder, president and CEO of Sweet Street Desserts Inc. – one of the most influential business people in the Greater Lehigh Valley.
Her Sweet Street Desserts served in more than 60 nations, Solmon continues to lead the business from its Reading headquarters. She said “chief innovator” remains her favorite role, and she regularly works with staff on the bakery floor to ensure quality.
“Not only do I devote a great deal of time traveling the world to inform myself, I spend hours in our R&D [research and development] kitchen, brainstorming with our chefs and food scientists,” Solmon said.
Healthy eating has become a factor in the creation of each dessert and further pushes Solmon’s team to rise to the challenges of creating recipes with the taste, lower calorie-count and health benefits consumers have come to demand.
“It has made R&D that much more challenging as we anticipate this future market requirement and work to remove all additives and GMOs [genetically modified organisms],” said Solmon, whose company has about 640 employees.
Additionally, Solmon said, the burden of proof means making sure ingredients are sustainably farmed, raised and hormone free, “while delivering our unparalleled taste and quality.”
Solmon said while the firm’s reach is global, its mission remains local as a corporate citizen. Commitment and support for various organizations, including The Children’s Home of Reading, Opportunity House and Miller-Keystone Blood Center are among the organizations her company supports.
“As a certified woman-owned business, I continually emphasize our commitment to the most important resource – people,” Solmon said.
Incorporating elements of Manhattan’s “Highline” – an elevated park built over its meat-packing district – Solmon and her husband, Douglas Messinger, built a similar environment at Sweet Street’s Reading headquarters.
The goal was a natural, pleasing environment, which reinvigorated the neighborhood and created a serene space for employees.
Keeping pace with changing market needs and forces means Solmon’s guiding business philosophy is paying attention to, and keeping up with, change while constantly striving to exceed consumer expectations.
Taking up the challenge for healthier sweets, the Manifesto cookie line launched this year features an all-butter dough with no additives or GMOs, sustainable chocolate and cage-free eggs, Solmon said. In the coming months, new Manifesto desserts will be brought to market.
“As our commitment to being relentless advocates for our customers strengthens, we are proud to be an agent of change in making our food supply wholesome and transparent,” she said.