AMSTERDAM — G’s Famous Lemon Cookies started as an at-home lemon cookie business and has since flourished to become a successful bakery on East Main Street. The shop owners believe in the city’s downtown and are investing in its future by purchasing the multi-unit building they inhabit from the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency.
The AIDA Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution accepting a $362,500 bid from Regina and Matt Flint for 44-46 E. Main St. during a special meeting on Aug. 23. The agency marketed the downtown mixed-use building for sale through Berkshire Hathaway planning to use the proceeds to invest in the restoration of other properties.
AIDA acquired the property for $43,000 from the United Way of Montgomery County in 2012. The agency subsequently secured $550,000 in grant funds to fully rehabilitate the deteriorating building as part of an estimated $650,000 project that took roughly two years to complete.
The building features four apartments on the second and third floors and two commercial storefronts on the ground floor level. The building is currently fully occupied by residential and commercial tenants with G’s Famous Lemon Cookies and Geek Pantology, a computer service and repair shop, filling storefronts on the ground floor level.
The Flints say they never planned to become landlords, but when the opportunity came along to purchase the building they knew they had to take a chance just as they had when the storefront G’s Famous Lemon Cookies is located in first became available.
The business grew from the popularity of the lemon cookies Regina would bring to family gatherings made from her grandmother’s recipe.
“People loved them,” Matt said.
Regina would sometimes make the cookies by commission and then began selling batches of the homemade treats in a few local stores on the side while working as a waitress. After a few years, Regina said she no longer wanted to make the cookies as a “hobby” and was ready to take the leap to open her own bakery.
“We decided to just go for it. It happened in months, everything just came together,” Regina said. “It was the right moment.”
When the storefront at 44 E. Main St. became available, the husband and wife agreed to make a go of it with Regina taking the lead and Matt helping out when possible in his off time from teaching for the Greater Amsterdam School District.
Regina tapped more of her grandmother’s recipes and Italian classics to feature on the menu of baked treats alongside coffee when the bakery opened in 2019. The storefront was a “perfect fit” and the community has supported the now flourishing business, Matt said.
“It’s been going good,” Regina said. “I like this area.”
While other businesses have struggled amid the pandemic, G’s Famous Lemon Cookies expanded its menu to include pizza, macaroni and cheese and sandwiches to meet the growing demand for convenient takeout options.
The fact that Regina operates the shop on her own most days means the bakery has avoided the widespread manpower shortages currently common to eateries throughout the region.
The bakery has become a second home to Regina and the Flints have developed relationships with the other building tenants over the past two years.
After learning AIDA planned to sell the East Main Street building to get the rehabilitated and productive property back on the tax rolls, the Flints recognized the move could be an opportunity or a threat to the future of their business.
“When the building came for sale it just made sense [to make an offer],” Matt said. “A couple of the tenants were really hoping we would get the building. I think all of our worst fears were that some developer would come in.”
Regina and Matt were excited when they learned AIDA had approved their offer with the sale of the building expected to close within the next few months. The couple plan to continue operating and maintaining the building as it is.
“People are happy here,” Regina said.
The pair view the purchase as an opportunity to safeguard the future of their business while ensuring any new tenants “care about Main Street as much as we do.”
“We’re both born and raised in Amsterdam and would love to see downtown come back. If we can be part of that, it would be fantastic,” Matt said. “We’re here, we have a vested interest.”
Regina and Matt say the city’s ongoing downtown revitalization efforts are already having an impact and they are looking forward to supporting future advancements as the owners of a prominent downtown building.
“We believe in Amsterdam as a community, they’ve supported our business tremendously and we believe in the downtown revitalization, which we’re excited to be a part of,” Matt said.
The interior of G’s Famous Lemon Cookies features a mural of the city’s downtown from 1941 the Flints installed as inspiration for the future they see for downtown.
“It probably won’t be exactly like it was then, but it can be a place where people come down to Main Street to gather and be part of the community,” Matt said.
“We need downtown open more,” Regina said. “We’ve just got to get it going.”