This interview is part of a series chatting with local business owners, artists, organizers and people in our community who are learning to adapt during COVID-19.
Krysten Trenholm – Sugar Mama’s Bake Shoppe
Describe your business.
Sugar Mama’s Bake Shoppe is a family-run bakery in the heart of Belleville. We provide a wide variety of cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes and other treats including dietary and custom orders. We run this business with a huge team of supporters: family, friends and staff.
What does work from home/your workplace look like for you right now?
“Working from home” looked like brainstorming at our kitchen table with our family and friends about what we could do to keep our little shop alive amidst the pandemic, and a lot of late nights pulling together custom orders, just a few people and a LOT of cupcakes! It involved taking risks, listening to what our customers wanted to see from us, and making a whole lot of memories too!
How have you adapted your operations during the pandemic?
During the pandemic, we were forced to close our doors for regular business and turned to taking pre-orders from a preset menu each week. We served our customers as best we could, and with a whole lot of trial and error trying to find a balance. Currently, we are working on reopening our doors June 19th, just in time for Father’s Day. We will operate on reduced hours at our storefront, however we have found a way to bring our customers treats available daily by way of our pop-up shop at Zwick’s Park this summer.
How have you been supported by the community?
This community has been so encouraging! During such uncertainty, we were met with such kind words and support. I found that regardless of how I was feeling, trying to navigate my small business through a global pandemic, I was constantly being met with positive feedback from customers and people asking how they could support us, asking how we were doing. To me, that is incredible!
We have loyal customers who ordered from each and every one of our weekly pre-order menus to support us! I feel really blessed to be a part of this community and to have such kind, thoughtful people buying from our little shoppe.
What is something good that has come out of this difficult time?
The confidence we now have that we can brave whatever storms might come our way. We aren’t afraid to take chances with our business. We know that some things may not always be a great success or go quite as we had planned for them to go, but we have learned a lot about our small business in a very little time period. Being such a new business, we haven’t always felt that confidence. Now, we go with our heart and listen to our customers, and we give it the best shot we’ve got!
We have also established some really sweet relationships with our regular customers through this — their words and support have kept the love for the business alive!
What advice do you have for other business owners at this time?
While we are new to doing business in Quinte, and still learning new things every day, some advice I might have for other businesses would be to remember your “why”. Why did you choose to go into business? For me, my “why” keeps me going strong, trekking through and finding a way to carry on and grow!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I am so grateful to be doing business in Quinte! I am blown away with the strong support for small business in this community and for Sugar Mama’s. We plan to grow and adjust to this “new normal” as best we can for our customers! It sure does take a village!
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