Three Croton Merchants Worth Knowing About
Susan and Chris O’Keefe with their trophy-worthy Pie Kit. Baked by Susan 379 S Riverside
Baked by Susan
379 S Riverside Avenue
Baked By Susan is the recipient of over a dozen Best of Westchester awards for Best Bakery, Best Cup Cakes, Best Pies and more. Add and mix in to all that its newest honor — Specialty Food Association’s 2022 Sofi Award for the “Bake This Yourself Pie Kit,” named Best New Product in the Baking Mixes & Pastry Doughs category. Every ingredient is made from scratch with no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
Proprietor Susan O’Keefe has been in the bakery business more than 20 years. She started off as a freelance baker for restaurants and farmers markets before opening a Croton storefront baker in March 2020 with husband and business partner Chris O’Keefe. Adjusting to the pandemic, the couple added curbside pickup and home delivery.
“Bake This Yourself Pie Kits” allow families to make their favorite treats at home, which made them an ideal quarantine product. Their popularity continues today.
Orchid & Elm
321 S Riverside Avenue
Orchid & Elm is a 100% women-owned boutique with a unique selection of furniture, home goods, and personal accessories. The store is filled with pieces made by female artists. Co-partners Leigh Fludd-Smith, Rose Marie Melda, Diandra Sklar, and Lorraine DeMaio have dedicated their lives to rebranding art. From an early age, they all loved restoring furniture and resurrecting old pieces.
All items sold at Orchid & Elm are designed by Westchester artists and hand-made in the United States. Many of the pieces are ecofriendly and created from salvaged items. Leigh Fludd-Smith began picking up furniture and items off the street and fixing them as a kid before parlaying her hobby into a full-time job.
Orchid & Elm supports local artists by helping them sell their work. They recently participated in Croton Summerfest. Diandra Sklar donated gift certificates to the community, which helped raise money for a scholarship program at a local school.
The constantly revolving inventory assures that new pieces from different artists arrive regularly, making the experience for customers fun and different on every visit.
Pedra Rustica U.S.
1360 Albany Post Road
Pedra Rustica U.S. opened this past February, bringing its Portuguese-style stone and design to Westchester County. Owner Pedro Silva previously was a contractor with a passion for restoring old homes, originally investing in, and renovating properties, in Ossining.
His new passion is “supplying custom orders of natural stone, outdoor cobbles and pavers, stone facades and floors, garden accents, decorative architectural accents, gates and fences, roof and façade coverings.”
The family-friendly business provides customers with high-quality stone for their dream architectural design. Customers can find one-of-a-kind products and designs that are not available at other home improvement or hardware stores. There is “a little bit of everything for everyone,” said Ines Silva, Pedro’s daughter.
Food and grilling have always been part of the Silva family culture. To share their epicurean love with customers, they’ve opened an extension of Pedra Rustica U.S. called La Brazza. Customers can shop for backyard appliances such as grills, pizza ovens, meat grinders, cast iron cookware, cutting boards, and charcoal.
Jeffrey Alper is a rising Junior at Indiana University-Bloomington, majoring in Journalism and Communications. He grew up in Westchester and is a graduate of John Jay High School in Cross River.