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Betsy Horton was working just a couple doors away when an opportunity knocked that she just couldn’t ignore.
Horton, the owner and baker of Heaven’s to Betsy, said she was working at the nearby Café on Main when the opportunity came up to purchase bakery cases and equipment from a grocery store going out of business.
Horton had a longstanding dream, she said, of opening a bakery in the downtown area.
She had been told before by her peers to open her own bakery, and unexpectedly, she said, she was given the chance to do something special.
Horton said returning to Lawrenceburg with a truck full of bakery cases helped her realize her dream was coming to fruition.
“It was an omen,” she said, smiling. “We were going to do this or have the garage filled with bakery stuff.”
Horton had higher aspirations, however, and wanted to create something unique to liven up the downtown area, she said. She wanted to add to the assortment of diverse businesses already located there.
“I knew I had to do a deli along with the bakery,” she said. “I wanted big sandwiches. I knew I wanted a big New York deli look in a small town.
“We needed this.”
More than a bakery
Packed with shelf upon shelf of homemade confections, Heavens to Betsy lives up to its name, according to local residents.
The combination deli/bakery opened in October and has become a hit with customers based on what they say is its unique combination of sophistication and personal service.
“The food is delicious and the people are accommodating,” said Ellery Milburn, an Anderson County resident and frequent patron.
The bakery sells an array of freshly baked goods ranging from bread to deli sandwiches and desserts, in addition to pasta.
It isn’t only the bakery, however, but the intentions behind it that make this a frequented hotspot in Lawrenceburg, patrons say.
The bakery also serves as a forum for local artists and a market for locally grown produce. Currently, Horton said, three local artist/farmers house their goods there.
Heavens to Betsy couples its own food and service with a distinctive display of local artwork and produce. The assortment includes ceramic ware, baked goods and fresh eggs. Horton says she hopes to add more artists to this collection and allow them a market for their goods from which the bakery gleans no profit. “It’s nice to have a place like this in downtown Lawrenceburg,” said resident Elizabeth York. “I like the local artwork especially.”
Fellow patron Becky Lorenzo agreed.
“I haven’t asked yet, but I’m wondering if they’d use local vegetables in their sandwiches as well,” Lorenzo said.
Horton said that sounds like great idea, and described her vision of what the bakery could offer.
“I would like to see the farmers’ market here, even in the off season, so they can have a venue through which to be a farmer,” Horton said.
She noted the role of agriculture in the heritage of the county, and also what she deems the importance of farming in its future.
Her customers say they love the idea, as well as the location. The rustic feel of the building, with its wood floors and exposed brick, was just what she wanted.
“I like old,” she said. “This is where people need to be. The support from the town has been great. I would like to see the downtown come alive again.”
Customers would like to see that, too.
“It brings more people downtown,” Milburn, one of the frequent patrons, said. “It’s the second time my daughter and I have been down here this week, and we never go downtown. It’s more like a coffeehouse than a restaurant, with the laid back atmosphere.”
Horton and her husband, Jackson, said they decided on the location for just that reason.
The couple said they want to see the downtown area grow.
“It’s something we’ve been trying to do for a while,” Jackson Horton said.
For her part, Betsy Horton only hopes to draw more attention to what she considers one of the most culturally important aspects of the town’s identity.
“With all these vendors and small mom and pop stores, you look around and think, ‘We could do this.’ ”
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