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Nikki La Tray is hoping for an even sweeter taste of success for her Eastside Bakery now that it has a new home in Davenport's Hilltop Campus Village.

Eight years ago, La Tray opened her bakery at 1330 E. 12th St., in a residential neighborhood near the Village of East Davenport.

''We didn't want to move necessarily, but felt we had to in order to accomplish what we wanted to do," she said. "I think the business had gotten as good as it was going to get down there." 

She traded her more than century-old former grocery store for a highly visible, corner store with a distinctive orange, adobe-like exterior at 1501 Harrison St.

Although the new bakery is slightly smaller than her original store, she it is more efficient with a lobby with her bakery cases, a designated kitchen and a private office — set up for visits from the grandkids.

"I preferred to stay in the older neighborhoods," she said, crediting her pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church, which is on the Hilltop's north edge, with suggesting the central city neighborhood.

La Tray hopes the improved visibility — including being on a thoroughfare — will be a boost to sales. Across the street is Harrison Lofts, a 60-unit apartment complex that opened late last year.

Her bakery specializes in pastries, sweets, breads and pizza with dough and sauce made from scratch. With a location between St. Ambrose University and Palmer College of Chiropractic's campuses, she said she plans to try selling pizza by the slice from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At night, the bakery is open for pizza sales, handled by her sons, Justin and Quenton Schutter.  She said their wives, Ally and Kaylene, respectively, "keep me organized."

Eastside Bakery's hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Monday.

The Eastside Bakery's arrival fills one of the most common requests made by residents — a bakery and a place the serves pizza, said Scott Tunnicliff, director of the Hilltop Campus Village. "The idea of pizza by the slice has come up frequently — especially from St. Ambrose students."

He said St. Paul's assistance in the project is a perfect example of how all the neighborhood's stakeholders are working together to rejuvenate the central city business district. 'We're just pleased she fell in love with the building," Tunnicliff said.

According to Tunnicliff, the structure was a pharmacy in the 1920s, but has housed many different types of businesses since. It has been vacant at least five years, he said.  

La Tray said it was difficult to leave the store where her startup bakery began and had built a loyal following. Her customers, she said, "didn't want to see us move, but they understand our situation." 

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