Wishes come true at new café, bakery shop

Published 2:30 pm Tuesday, February 6, 2024

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NATCHEZ — Whether it’s sweets, coffee, or a quick grab-and-go snack, your wishes can be granted at Wishes Sweets and Eats at 506 Franklin St.

Bakery owner Caylen Caldwell, a Vidalia, Louisiana, native, is planning to have a soft opening this Friday from noon until 7 p.m., first with coffee and ice cream and then with a stocked bakery case later in the afternoon.

Saturday hours are from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., she said.

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“Eventually, we will have grab-and-go foods like cold sandwiches and wraps,” she said. “It’s a lot of things.”

Wishes didn’t begin setup until late 2023 and went through a complete redesign in January to incorporate a larger frosting station where passersby on the sidewalk can peer into the glass storefront and see the cake and cupcake decorating business in action.

“I’m really excited about it,” Caldwell said. “We’d talked about putting in a window here,” on an inside wall with what would’ve been an L-shaped counter before the baking section would take up half the shop. “That way people could watch while they were ordering, but we didn’t want to work in such a tight space. Now, we’ve got all of this space for frosting tables in the front, which is so fun.”

July of last year, opening a bakery wasn’t in Caldwell’s wildest dreams, she said.

However, she does have some business roots. She is the niece of Malan and John Parks, owners of Pearl Street Pasta, Magnolia Grill and the former 100 Main.

“My aunt called me a few weeks before all of this came to fruition and said she saw a building downtown and asked me, ‘Do you think you would want to open a bakery?’” Caldwell said. “My answer was not really. My husband and I love to travel and I like the freedom of being able to go and leave when I want. Two weeks later, my mom calls. She always has crazy ideas but if she brings it up more than once, I know she is serious about it.”

Caldwell and her mother, Stacy Wagoner, tossed around the idea that Natchez needed a place for a quick grab-and-go lunch. That idea evolved into a full-scale bakery, which is what Caldwell specializes in.

She expresses her creativity through baking and branding.

Caldwell first appeared in pop-up markets with the name Cakes by Caylen in 2021.

She discovered her baking and cake decorating talent by making a few cakes for Christmas parties and her mom’s birthday cake and posting pictures. Not long after, she started taking requests from friends and family and that evolved into a home business.

Her time spent working for Mickey Mouse in Orlando, Florida, inspired the name Wishes. A job at Disney has been a dream since before she graduated from Vidalia High School in 2018.

“My whole family is very Disney-centric. My husband (Loyd) and I both worked at Disney,” she said.

She became a server at Trader Sam’s in the Polynesian Resort. The job was everything she hoped it would be. However, she missed her friends and family back home, she said.

It wasn’t long after Caldwell moved back that the mother-daughter duo created Wishes Sweets and Eats. She decided to display the name in fun pastel pink and blue colors.

When the bakery is up and running smoothly, Caldwell said she plans to return to taking custom orders for birthdays, weddings and just because.

Until then, people can pick and choose from the selection of goodies made fresh daily.

Learn more at cakesbycaylen.com