About ten years ago, Kathy Hankey and her family moved from the Village of Owego to a five-acre property on Glenmary Drive. It was there that Hankey, along with help from her four daughters and husband, created what she describes as a “hobby” farm, where animals such as goats, sheep and alpacas roam, and vegetables grow abundant.
A stay-at-home parent, Hankey’s success has evolved over time. Hankey fixed up a barn on the property, and that is where her business, “What’s In Store,” began. Hankey’s children joined in by selling fresh vegetables and farm eggs from a roadside stand.
At the same time, Hankey kept up with another business she has managed for some 30 years, known as “Kathy Cakes.”
Today, Hankey is celebrating one year at her new store located at 187 Main St. in Owego. “What’s in Store (Cakes and More)” is housed inside a recognizable brick property once home to several Owego diners, and only a few steps from Lake Street.
Inside, visitors will find a welcoming space decorated in a more traditional look with country charm. Hankey remarked that she still does have the classic stools left behind by the previous diner, and may somehow incorporate them in the future.
Featured at “What’s In Store” is local honey and maple syrup, farm fresh eggs and Amish canned goods and preserves. Homemade gifts are available, too, such as hand-crafted soaps and goat milk soap, soy and bees wax candles, jewelry, and hand-sewn merchandise, along with granite cheese boards. In addition, natural yarns and fiber from the Hankey’s own farm animals, to include alpaca, sheep and angora, are sold in the shop.
Hankey explained that when she originally saw the Main Street property up for sale, she knew it was the right fit to bring her farm business downtown. Pleased with the traffic and feedback from customers so far, Hankey remarked that the baking side of her business has grown even more.
A graduate of Nazareth College near Rochester, Hankey holds a painting and illustration degree. As a youth growing up in Montour Falls, N.Y., Hankey participated in 4H, and it was that experience, she said, that helped inspire her early imagination and inventiveness.
A self-taught cake artist, Hankey first designed cakes for weddings at the nearby Pumpelly House when she lived in the village. Most recently she baked goods for the little leaguers in town, and keeps an active schedule designing cakes for birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, as well as for special events held by local organizations.
Hankey explained that she enjoys every cake she masters, and specializes in single-tiered, shaped, sculpted and 3-D cakes, along with stacked wedding or party cakes, designer cookies and unique cupcakes.
She commented, “I keep up with trend changes, such as weddings where the choice is often cupcake bouquets in lieu of traditional flowers.”
Hankey’s goal, she said, is to, “Make it special” for every occasion, and takes time to chat with customers about each custom detail.
From Santa and Frosty in a hot tub, to a teapot pouring flowers into cups, to a camera and grand piano, and then a cake-replica of the Titanic, to OFA championship team cakes, she has whipped up countless cakes-of-art. She also makes her own homemade fondant.