Bitoys Sweet Treats sits brightly and boldly near the corner of Chicago and Austin avenues with a tiled mosaic out front and a cheerful exterior that stands out along the corridor.
When you step inside, the unique glass-blown lamps, bright paints and lush decor feels as though you’re stepping into another world right within Austin.
Owner Layla Bitoy-Dillon said the cheerful and unique vibe is intentional as she works to carry on the long legacy of entrepreneurship that her family brought to Austin nearly 50 years ago and that she continued with the opening of Bitoy’s Sweet Treats in 2015.
“I want kids in Austin to have a positive experience whenever they come through our doors,” Bitoy-Dillon said of the unique interior. “There aren’t many stores in Austin that look like this, but our kids deserve to be exposed to experiences like this.”
That experience includes a warm greeting by employees when you first enter, with the smell of fresh popcorn, chocolates and warm desserts also greeting the visitor. The atmosphere is welcoming.
“I make it a point that we have friendly conversations with anyone who steps into the store. Whether it’s your first time or not, we want you to feel welcome,” Bitoy-Dillon said.
Her shop is surely a sweet treat in Austin, serving confections that aren’t found anywhere else in the community. Ranging from handcrafted popcorn to gelato (inspired by her time spent in Italy),
Bitoy-Dillon makes sure that Bitoy’s Sweet Treats not only offers a pleasant experience in-store, but online as well.
“We ship nationwide – that’s actually a large part of our business – but we also enable customers to be able to order online for curbside pickup and we’re on platforms like UberEats. We’re really trying to be innovative and up-to-date with technology,” Bitoy-Dillon said.
Bitoy-Dillon’s corporate background as a business management consultant gave her expertise in areas like marketing and operations necessary to help steer her company through a challenging pandemic. She’s also leveraged that training to identify workforce needs.
When Bitoy-Dillon realized that many potential employees in Austin couldn’t figure out how to operate the technology necessary to run her store, she urged local community organizations to incorporate technology training into their job training programs.
“Customer service these days is more than just ringing someone’s order up,” she said. “It’s about using apps, being able to have amazing conversations via email to support our nationwide customers. It’s about being able to collect customer information that we can use down the line in our business. All of that is important to my business and I need employees who understand that and are able to use the technology needed to make these things happen.”
Bitoy-Dillon has also focused on enhancing the community outreach aspect of her business.
“I’m always evolving,” she said. “Right now I’m working closely with the Chicago Blackhawks, as a part of their Support West initiative. Some great things are going to be coming from that relationship that I’m super excited about.”
Bitoy’s Sweet Treats is open Friday and Saturday, noon to 7p.m, and on Sundays, 11 a.m to 4 p.m. You can also order online at www.bitoysbrands.com and follow along on social media @bitoys_sweet_treats.