Cleda Gray and Rosetta Waters are not your typical sisters.
Like night and day, Cleda is more reserved while Rosetta prefers joking around (and singing). And together, they are the perfect pair.
Always close while growing up in the Towad community, two of five children born to David and Rosalie Kilby, the sisters even settled together in Louisville, returning to McCreary County in 1974 to help care for their father.
While each worked in the public sector, the sisters also became known amongst their friends for their culinary skills — particulary when it comes to sweets. Rosetta specializes in fudge and Cleda excels at such local staples as fried pies and apple stack cakes.
By August of 2011 (after the passing of their mother), the “Kilby Sisters” decided it was time to launch a home baking business — something they were both passionate about.
Just a few months in, they decided to open a shop in the old General Store at downtown Stearns.
“One of the reasons we wanted to open publicly is that we have worked in the public,” Rosetta explained. “We didn’t see a lot of people while working at home. Here we’re family. We get to see people we haven’t seen in years.”
Rosetta had retired from the FSA in 2005. Cleda, who worked for the county extension office, remains involved with Pine Knot Funeral Home.
After three months of preparing the building, the Kilby Sisters Sweet Shop opened last April. The sisters also had room to operate a vendors mall.
“We saw it as a way to create jobs and help the local economy,” Cleda said.
Among those helping out is Cleda's granddaughter Ashley, who specializes in wedding cakes. Rosetta's daughter-in-law Ginnie runs the vendors mall, which now has 75 members.
The sisters also have help from their niece Tammy as well as Cleda’s daughters Cindy and Mary Ann. They say their goal is to be properous enough to turn the businesses over to them.
With Stearns as a tourism destination, the shop has attracted customers not just from this area but from as far as Australia, Germany, Spain and Holland.
“For our first year, I think we’ve done really well and we’re looking for a really good year this year,” Rosetta said. “When we started, everyone was so helpful to us. We’re so humbled by the generosity of people.”
Kilby Sisters Sweet Shop & Bakery/Stearns Vendors Mall will celebrate their first anniversary on April 6.