Family teams up to open Ruby Slippers

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

SISTER ACT — Sisters Stacy Martin, left and Katherine Farris hold court over a counter of sweet candies and baked goods at their new business, Ruby Slippers Café and Bakery, in the Crystal Lake Spa and Wellness Center in Harrison.

HARRISON — When Stacy Martin decided to open a business at the former ice cream shop at the Crystal Lake Spa & Wellness Center in Harrison, she called her sister Kathy Farris.

With her own background in restaurants and her sister’s culinary skills, “I knew together we could make something wonderful happen,” said Martin.

The result is Ruby Slippers Café and Bakery at 103 Norway Road (Route 117), which serves a full breakfast and lunch — and has been earning rave reviews since a Nov. 5 soft opening for the quality of their candies and baked goods.

In opening the business with help from their children, nieces and older sister Laurie, a caterer, the sisters have taken to heart the advice of their mother after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. “We are truly a family business,” said Martin. In the two years before she died, Martin’s mother would often tell her daughters, “individually none of you are perfect, but if you girls stick together you can do anything.”

The Ruby Slippers name was inspired by a brooch of ruby slippers Martin pinned on her mother just before she died, whose image has come to serve as a reminder of the importance of family and that “home isn’t always a place, more importantly, home is a feeling.”

Martin was a business major in college and has over 20 years experience in food service.

“My first job was working for Althea Mishoe at Shorelands back in 1984, when the restaurant was still small,” she said of the restaurant space she now leases as Ruby Slippers, overlooking Crystal Lake. While at Shorelands, she learned candy-making, and the went on to work at Maurice Restaurant in South Paris and later as manager of the Ground Round in Auburn.

Martin said Crystal Lake Spa owner Marlene Fillebrown approached her about opening a café in the colorfully-decorated dining area with murals on the walls and large picture windows.

“To me, it felt like I had come full circle, back to my roots. Harrison is a wonderful village, with so many great people. They have all been very welcoming and excited for us. We are elated to be here,” said Martin, who handles the business end of operations and makes the candy.

Farris, her business partner, does the bulk of the baking and cooking along with Farris’s son, Jason Millett, who has culinary experience from various restaurants including Parkside and Main in Farmington. Farris formerly owned Country Bumpkins farm stand and bakery in Avon, was a kitchen manager at Sugarloaf, and has relocated to the Harrison area. An expert in custom cake design and decorating, Farris will also be doing custom cakes for all occasions.

“My oldest sister Laurie is in the process of moving to Maine from Rhode Island and helped with our grand opening” on Nov. 12, Martin said. That sister, an experienced caterer, will help with the catering service they will be providing in the banquet room upstairs.

Ruby Slippers has served a steady stream of customers so far with its full breakfast and lunch menu, with takeout also available. They feature local eggs, homemade quiche of the day, and signature French toast on Ciabatta bread for breakfast, and lunch features sandwiches, wraps, fresh salads, homemade soups, stews and chowder.

The business’s full bakery features homemade breads, muffins, scones, cookies, pies, cakes and hand-dipped chocolates and fudge.

Hours for the business are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call them at 583-4400.

But don’t try to reach them by following the Yellow Brick Road. According to a statement about the business name hanging from the wall, “The Ruby Slippers were never about evil witches, magic cities or roads paved in gold. It’s knowing how important family is, and that family isn’t always flesh and blood. It’s believing in yourself and knowing that together you can do anything.”

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