LE’s Cupcakes and Fat Puppy Coffee Roasters were part of a grand opening event Feb. 5 at Main Street Mercantile, 103 East Main Avenue, Myerstown.

The event also celebrated the grand opening of the Mercantile, a boutique marketplace filled with makers, curators and creators. It’s part of the repurposed Factory on Main.

LE’s Cupcakes

“Everyone wants cupcakes,” said Lydia Eberly, owner of LE’s Cupcakes. “Baking has always been a passion of mine.”

She started baking at the age of 6. “I made cookies for my family, and I made my first cake by myself when I was eight-years-old,” Eberly explained, “When I turned 16, I made pumpkin rolls for people at Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

She and her husband have two daughters. With the birth of their first daughter in 2013, she was a stay-at-home mom for a few years then went back into the workforce. After the birth of their second daughter in 2018, she decided to focus on baking as a business. She received certification from the state Department of Agriculture to operate an in-home business. “My husband says I’m a ‘giver’—I often give the gift of baked goods,” Eberly said. “My neighbors are my taste-testers. I’s a great way to get a feel for new flavors or new baked items, and to share my passion for baked goods, but one neighbor has joked with me that she’ll have to visit the gym more frequently (because of the delicious baked goods).”

The demand for her cupcakes, and other baked goods such as cinnamon rolls, scones and specialty cakes grew, and she realized it was time to graduate from being a home-based business to having a separate retail location. Last year she found space in the Mercantile, and after receiving the appropriate certifications, opened her stand in November.

At the Mercantile, LE’s Cupcakes offers cupcakes, scones, and cinnamon rolls. The most popular cupcake flavors are chocolate with peanut butter frosting, vanilla with vanilla buttercream frosting, and vanilla with strawberry buttercream frosting. Eberly said she’s also offering some gluten-free cupcakes. She may offer special items for holidays—for Valentine’s Day, she offered chocolate bombs. She continues to offer cakes by special order, and seasonal cake flavors may be offered such as carrot cake in the fall, white cake with coconut for the spring and Easter, or cake with fresh fruit filling for the summer.

“Being at the Mercantile is a step up for my business. While the cupcakes are a great treat by themselves, people have also tried them to see if they’d like to order a specific cake flavor,” she explained.

Another neat thing about the Mercantile—her grandmother, who had served as a chef at the Quentin Tavern and Eli’s, is helping out at the stand. “It’s great for both of us—it gives her an opportunity to get out, and I needed someone to help me,” Eberly said.

For information about LE’s Cupcakes, visit, the business’s Facebook page and Instagram posts.

Fat Puppy Coffee Roasters

Fat Puppy Coffee Roasters celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. The small batch artisan coffee roaster was established by owner Sean Firestine in January 2011. “I try to bring good tasting, and reasonably priced, coffees to appeal to the people in our area. I find the best specialty grade coffees from around the world and roast them to bring out their unique flavors,” Firestine said.

Fat Puppy offers single origin coffee (coffee that comes from a single growing region or farm) as well as coffee from co-ops. Fat Puppy also offers several coffee blends, which he said are fairly popular. “A lot of people tell me they love our coffee—they like that it’s fresh roasted coffee,” he said.

The business’s fanciful name originated during a brainstorming session. Firestine said he and his family and friends were trying to find a name for the business and deciding if it should be something more serious or something playful and memorable. “We had an English bulldog at the time. I called her my ‘fat puppy’. She was in the room where we were talking, and I looked at her and jokingly said—‘how about fat puppy’, and it felt right,” he explained.

Fat Puppy Coffee Roasters began as a hobby for Firestine. He explained that a friend from church was into coffee roasting as a hobby and started bringing his artisan roasted coffee for after-church activities at the social hall. “I really liked the taste and began asking questions about the process. One day he brought in one of his small roasters and some beans so I could try my hand at it, and I was hooked,” Firestine said.

Fat Puppy began operating out of the garage next to his home. There he was open one Saturday per month. “I needed a bit more space, so I looked around. I moved into the Mercantile in July 2020. I was the only business there until another one opened in September, and since November I’ve been open every Saturday,” he said, “It’s been a lot of fun—we have people coming in for coffee every Saturday, and some are long-time customers who have become friends.”

At the Mercantile, Fat Puppy is open 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. Firestine said he also works with organizations on fundraisers. For more information, visit www.fatpuppycoffee.com and its Facebook page.

The Mercantile

Part of The Factory on Main, the Mercantile is a small vendor boutique shop. Ashly Landis of Solomon Co. coordinates vendors at the Mercantile.

She said the Factory on Main is housed in a former shirt factory. The shirt factory, which operated from 1905 to 1986 was owned and operated by S. Liebovitz and Sons (New York City) and the name later changed to Publix. It was bought by a New Jersey firm, Penn West Partnership, and sweaters were made there for about two decades. Around 2007 the property was purchased by Dunamis Holdings LLC—partners Mark Landis Sr., Jason Schwalm and Daniel Landis (Ashly’s husband).

“For the past 15 years we have slowly, steadily and patiently been breathing life into this historic landmark. We are now blessed to have many talented and wonderful businesses in this building,” Ashly Landis said.

There’s a dance studio (Generation Dance); a gym (Factory Fitness); a cabinet company (Olde Mill Cabinetry) and a brand strategist (Char Co.) as well as other businesses. “Walking around this building you know there is a rich history, you can imagine floors filled with machines, and women sewing and cutting. I talk to a lot of locals who have fond memories working here. They’ll say ‘oh, I worked on the third floor,’” she said.

There’s also a family connection to the building—her husband’s grandfather worked here too. “I love listening to him talk about being a ‘runner’; he’d take fabric that was marked out from one floor to another floor for cutting and then the cuts to another floor for sewing,” she said, “This building as a whole sounded like such a community hub.”

Susan Eberly, president and CEO Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation, said she grew up across the street from the building. “It was the Publix shirt factory then. They had two shifts, and I would see the women leaving the building—they looked so interesting to me,” she said, “The factory closed, and it was a sad time for our community and the country, since it was the time when a lot of the American textile industry shifted overseas. But the Landis family {and their partners} have given the building new life.”

Ashly Landis said repurposing the building has been both “scary and exciting”. “It was scary because of the work it took—repairs seemed endless. It’s exciting because we get to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, Landis said, “Our goal is simple—bring people together to experience and continue to build a vibrant community. We want to invite others to take hold of life and celebrate it together. As JFK once said…’A rising tide lifts all boats’. We want to help rise the tide of change is this community, by honoring history, shaping a vibrant legacy of life and recapturing the spirit of community.”

For more information about The Factory on Main visit www.thefactoryonmain.com.

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Rochelle A. Shenk is a writer with over two decades experience. Her work appears in regional business publications and lifestyle magazines as well as area newspapers. She writes about business and municipal sectors as well as arts and entertainment, human interest features, and travel and tourism. Rochelle...