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Retiree gets help with sweet dream

Judy Ortwerth is selling Judy's Sweet Treats at the Rock N' Roll Café in Ellsworth. Ortwerth also uses the café's kitchen three days a week to bake the goods she sells.

ELLSWORTH -- A home-based business is what Judy Ortwerth had in mind when she thought about keeping busy in retirement.

And Judy's Sweet Treats may happen at her Ellsworth home someday, Ortwerth said. But due to the generosity of Cheryl Johnson at the local Rock N' Roll Café, the retiree has been able to get her venture started much earlier than she originally imagined.

"Cheryl offered to have me come in and do some baking," Ortwerth said. She now uses the cafe's downstairs kitchen Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 2 p.m. until she's done.

The products of her work are prominently displayed upstairs.

"People can buy them to eat here or to take out," she said.

Ortwerth said she's continuing to pursue a $100,000 grant she learned about through the Internet for funding a required upgrading of her home to have the enterprise there. Last December, a related rezoning of her residence was approved. At that time, she estimated it would be around a year before she could begin.

The Milwaukee native has always liked to cook, she said, especially baking and making sweets. She plans to add breakfast muffins, cupcakes and old-fashioned fry donuts to the variety of treats she sells, ranging from one to six per plate. She might try putting out candy, too, depending on response; she turns out a lot of truffles.

"I make turtles, but mine are square, not round," she said, indicating she cuts them once they're ready inside a pan.

Ortwerth said she came to this area from Baraboo, Wis., made aware of this vicinity by a sister, Barbara, of Red Wing.

In Pierce County, she was a jail nurse for a total of 15 years, retiring at the end of last April, she said. Even in retirement, her previous employment with the county has led to a job doing drug testing for Pierce's drug court seven nights a week. The work meant having to get a computer and that facilitated her grant application, the outcome of which she hopes to know by the end of this year.

To order from Judy's Sweet Treats, call 715-273-4102 or 715-307-7781.