COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Seven-year-old Calee Puzneak (left) receives a scoop of ice cream from Momma Bee’z Sweet Treats and More owner Brittani McClain (right) during the grand opening event of the new ice cream shop, bakery and sandwich shop Friday morning.

Momma Bee'z brings sweet treats and more to Constantine

CONSTANTINE — Brittani McClain has loved baking almost her entire life.

The Three Rivers native and current Constantine resident started making baked goods from a young age, for one simple reason: to make people smile and brighten their day.

“I've always liked baking and making people happy with food,” McClain said. “It’s something I thoroughly enjoy, as well as my kids.”

Over the years, that passion turned into a home-based business. However, it wasn’t until a chance encounter with local businessman and former Harvey House owner Denny Phillips that a lifelong dream of owning her own store became a reality.

“He ordered a dozen cupcakes, the strawberry shortcake ones, and then the next thing you know, it was, 'Have you thought about putting yourself in a shop? I have one for you,’” McClain recalled. “He saw the potential in me, and said it could be more, so we decided to make it more.”

And thus was born Momma Bee’z Sweet Treats and More, located at 130 E. Water St. in Constantine, which officially opened to the public Friday morning in a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by friends, family, local residents, and representatives from the Three Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce and Constantine Downtown Development Authority.

The shop is a combination ice cream shop, bake shop and sandwich shop, serving everything from 16 flavors of hand-dipped Hudsonville Ice Cream, cookies and multiple flavors of cupcakes and cakes, to hot dogs, nachos, wraps and paninis. They also offer catering services for special events.

“This is not just a sweet shop, this is also somewhere where you can get your snacks, your lunch or your dinner if you want something light,” McClain said.

With the cupcakes and cookies, McClain said there will be numerous flavors rotated in and out from time to time. Currently, the main cupcake flavors available include lemon blueberry, pecan pie, and the strawberry shortcake cupcakes that helped her get her storefront. The shop also offers fresh-baked bread on a daily basis.

McClain said she wants her shop to be family-oriented, and the feel of the shop upon entering exudes that sort of atmosphere. A mother of four boys, she said she wants to not just make the shop a destination for excellent treat selections, but also a place where kids and families can come together and have fun participating in activities.

“I have a popcorn machine that I'd like to do a popcorn movie night where kids can come in, grab some ice cream, there'll be a movie playing and they can get popcorn too,” McClain said. “I want to have somewhere where kids can come and decorate for their family, like Father's Day we've got coming, so just something different.”

In the first couple hours, McClain’s shop was busy, with almost a couple dozen people walking through the door to pick up a treat. McClain said she was a bit “leery” at first being a first-time store owner in her local community, but said that community has been supportive of her endeavor so far.

“Everybody's been very warm and welcoming of everything, very supportive. I was very leery at first, but everybody seems to be very nice about it,” McClain said. “It was overwhelming to see the support, but it made me happy.”

Constantine DDA Director Diana Lammott said it was great to see McClain’s shop opening up.

“It’s exciting. The Town Fryer closed, and they had ice cream, so now we have ice cream again,” Lammott said. “I’m looking forward to this being a destination for people to come to.”

Overall, McClain said people can expect yummy homemade desserts every time they come in to Momma Bee’z.

“I'm all about homemade and doing stuff from back in the day,” McClain said.

Momma Bee’z is open seven days a week from 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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