Variety and customization make a great drink at Smarty’s!

Variety and customization make a great drink at Smarty’s!

Marty Perez operates Smarty’s Sweets & Treats, located in the Orpheum building at 5821 Sixth Ave. Enjoy this exclusive Go Downtown Kenosha Magazine interview as we get the scoop about Marty’s sweets & Treat. Like and follow them on Facebook for all your sweet updates!

Q. What does Smarty’s Sweets & Treats offer?
A. Boba teas, frappes, fruit teas, refreshers, smoothies and Italian sodas.  We also offer cheesecakes in a jar, cupcakes, and a  large variety of freeze-dried candy.

Q. What is a boba tea?
A. Boba tea, aka bubble tea, starts with a base of tea or juice. Milk powders and flavoring syrups are added to the base, and the whole drink is shaken. For the finishing touch, boba pearls and/or other toppings are added. Part of the fun of bubble tea is the ability to customize the drink with different teas, flavors, and toppings. You can really customize and make it your very own!

Photo by Donny Stancato

Q. Can you tell us some of the history of starting your own business?
A. It started 13 years ago out of my house. Two years ago, we moved to a small building/ice cream shop where I had the opportunity to operate. My daughter Gabby told me I had to do boba so I took a chance on it and now it’s our biggest seller to date.

Q. You also work as a surgical nurse, what has that experience brought to owning your own business?A. I’ve taken a few months off to work on my business; I do miss nursing and will be returning soon. I love taking care of my patients just like I love my customers and I want everyone to walk out of my shop happy and satisfied with their products just like I love my patients to be happy with the care I could provide them.

Photo by Donny Stancato

Q. Tell us how you come up with the name Smarty’s Sweets & Treats?
A. One of the surgeons I work for (I believe it was Dr. Birndorf) use to call me Smarty-Marty after I got glasses because he thought I looked smart. The shop was formerly called Smarty Cakes but with the new items I became Smarty’s Sweets and Treats but I may be rebranding to just Smarty’s.

Q. What do you love about owning a business in Downtown Kenosha?
A. I love the old school nostalgia. The people walking downtown just enjoying the small businesses. The people Downtown care about the neighborhood and want to make this a destination area.  I feel proud to be Downtown!  I have been lucky to team up with some other great Kenosha businesses like Manny Ramirez of Mr. Wings and Sweet Corner Ice Cream. They were opportunities I couldn’t refuse and I look forward to working with them again, as well as others.

Photo by Donny Stancato

Q. When did you realize you had a passion for baking?
A. To be honest I hated baking growing up! My mom was the baker and she loved to bake.  About 15 years ago I started to play around with cakes and sweets as an outlet or maybe therapy for the funk I found myself in. I could sit for hours and create things.  People would call me all the time to make cakes for them and the rest is history.  

Q. What inspires your creations?
A. My mom! She was the baker, and the family loved her cookies and cakes.  She now has dementia and hasn’t baked in 20 or so years.  She knew she was getting sick so she gave me her box of recipes.  It is something I will cherish forever.  

Photo byDonny Stancato

Q. What is next for Smarty’s Sweets & Treats?
A. To keep improving my products and get my name out there.  I want people to love our products like we do.  I want to leave a legacy for my daughters and grandsons that they can grow with.

Smarty’s Sweets & Treats
5821 Sixth Ave
(262) 818-2972
Like them on Facebook here!

Photos and Q&A by Donny Stancato • Edited by Jason Hedman

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(This article first appeared in Vol 16. #3 2023 Go Downtown Kenosha Magazine)