Kirsten Goritsas at Four Sweets Cookies planned a variety of Valentine goodies with different price points.
By Kathryn Stocks
Centennial resident Kirsten Goritsas started baking cookies with her 2-year-old daughter just for fun eight years ago. Her baking began as a hobby but it soon became a passion, and at the end of November she was delighted to open her own store, the Four Sweets Cookies Bake Shop in the CIBC plaza in Highland Creek. The business is named for her four children.
At first, Kirsten sold her cookies and cakes through a Facebook page while she continued her career as a teacher. Then she tried selling at markets, starting with the West Rouge Artisan Market. “I was hooked after that,” she said. “I loved the response I was getting for this type of product. It just made people happy.”
Soon she rented a commercial kitchen for the prep because the business grew beyond what she could do in her home kitchen. She was still selling on Facebook but three years ago she switched to her first shop, a location she shared with Mark’s Pizzas.
Kirsten got to know Mark Alousis when they did markets together. They developed a friendship and business partnership the summer they were selling right next to each other at the UTSC Farmers’ Market every Wednesday.
They got their business license for the shop a mere three days before everything was closed for the pandemic in March 2020. “The stars were aligned,” Kirsten said. If they hadn’t received the paperwork from the city, they wouldn’t have been able to operate as a takeout location during the shutdown. “It was a quick pivot to what we initially planned on doing.” She was thankful they could share the bills and expenses. “It was a good first first step for both of us.”
As her business grew, she scaled back her teaching career and went to half time for a year. “As any teacher will tell you, teaching isn’t a half-time job,” she said, “so after that I applied for an unpaid leave of absence and decided to pursue my passion and my dreams.” Her husband is also a teacher and was very supportive.
When the lease in their shared store was up last year, she and Mark wondered what to do next. “Do we stay, do we go, does one of us go?” Both businesses had grown and space was tight.
When the unit at the end of the plaza came up, Kirsten decided to take it. “I had so many things I wanted to do. I wanted to do ice cream because I feel like in our immediate community that’s kind of a nice thing to have.” She’s now selling Kawartha Dairy ice cream. To bring more people into the shop, she’s planning to offer a coupon for a free ice cream on your birthday.
As well as making cookies, cupcakes, birthday and wedding cakes, KIrsten loves doing workshops, kids’ classes and birthday parties. “It’s really a perfect match of spending time with the kids, which I miss from teaching, and cookie decorating,” she said.
Four Sweets Cookies is located at 371 Old Kingston Rd. at the far end of the CIBC plaza. Special orders for her products can be made by emailing Kirsten at email@example.com or by calling her at 416-286-CAKE. Bon appetit!