After his retirement, Serge Pieters and his wife Margot moved from the bustling urban sprawl of Milton to the quiet hamlet of Vienna. They purchased a project house and spent a year completely redoing every aspect of the home and property. After some time in the area Serge came to appreciate the beautiful beach in nearby Port Burwell and began to see great potential in the community.
The couple purchased 29 Robinson Street in downtown Port Burwell and began the rigorous process of restoring the building. At first, they weren’t exactly sure what they were going to do with the building but they recognized it was a great location. Revitalizing the building proved to be a monumental task requiring the replacement of walls, electrical work, and insulation – all work that was done using skilled, local contractors. A new addition to the building’s façade was a plaque presented by Bird Studies Canada in recognition of the owner’s work to save the building’s non-functioning chimney, which is home to endangered Chimney Swifts.
“The building was in such a state that it would have been easier to tear it down,” said Serge. “But the hundred year old oak floors made it worth saving.”
The result of this renovation is a beautifully restored building with solid oak floors, big bright windows, and a 1920s vibe. Serge and Margot then embarked on a period of extensive market research to determine what kind of business would be successful at the store’s location. One morning around 2:00 a.m. inspiration hit Margot who woke Serge to suggest that the pair open a chocolate shop. Unbeknownst to Margot, Serge had been born above his grandmother’s chocolate shop in Ghent, Belgium. He immediately took to the idea and The Sweet Spot was born as a tribute to his heritage. Four years later the pair hasn’t looked back.
The Sweet Spot is an artisan shop specializing in unique and delectable culinary items. Serge and Margot source most of their products from local producers and small companies. They place great importance on offering products of superior quality to their customers. The store is a “Foodie” fantasy with artisan cheeses, fresh baked desserts, Belgian chocolates, Turkish Delight, jams, jellies, preserves, specialty salad dressings, artisan ice cream toppings, handmade fudge, and customer favourite – chocolate covered pizza. This delightful indulgence comes by the slice and is topped not with meat or cheese, but with Belgian chocolate, cookie crumbs, and bits of candy bars. In addition to these tasty treats, The Sweet Spot also takes custom orders for gift baskets that are perfect for every holiday occasion.
Serge has high praises for his new community where he sees a renaissance of sorts occurring.
“We drove down here one day by mistake and we never left,” laughs Serge. “Port Burwell is a community with tremendous potential. We already have a beautiful public beach, a nearby provincial park, a thriving community theatre, and a supportive business community and it is only going to get better from here!”
The Sweet Spot is open weekends from Easter to the end of June. The store then opens 7 days a week, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday from July