bake - January/February 2021 - 15

understand the shifts in consumer demand and how it
impacts the business models of the future, " VanDewater
explains. " We will need to continue tracking and understanding consumer expectations as it relates to the balance
between price, value and convenience, along with health
and safety, as pandemic uncertainty continues. "
Retail perspective
For retail bakeries, the challenge is straightforward. How
do you recuperate lost business when more Americans are
confined to their homes or hesitant to venture out because
of the COVID-19 pandemic?

" Once you start
awakening
awareness,
you can make
change. "
Stephanie Hart, owner of Brown
Sugar Bakery in Chicago

For Stephanie Hart, owner of Brown Sugar Bakery in
Chicago, her strategy is clear.
" I'm a doer. I'm doing what I can to build back our community, " she says. " We are going to survive. Our work doesn't
stop. I'm looking for a silver lining all the time. If you think
different thoughts, you get different results. "
Hart shared her insights in a recent interview with a
local Chicago station, The Jam. She opened Brown Sugar
Bakery in 2004 and from there she has developed a client
base that appreciates the love they taste in her cakes. This
Greater Grand Crossing bakery's tagline is " life is sweet, "
and it delivers on the promise with cheesecakes, cupcakes,
cobblers, cookies, pies and more. Specialty sweets include
sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, and bread pudding. Nearly
20 whole cake flavors are available, including German
chocolate, red velvet, carrot and turtle.
In particular, Hart is dedicated to baking products that
African Americans love, striving to connect patrons to
longtime traditions.
One of Hart's good friends produced " The SOUL Food
Monologues, " which is designed to uncover and promote
the powerful food and justice stories of everyday people
working for change. Hart wants to bring that to Chicago.

BROWN SUGAR BAKERY/JOHN UNREIN

" I'm very proud of baking cakes, " she continues. " For our
customers, we connect a childhood memory for them. This
is an amazing time. Once you start awakening awareness,
you can make change. "
Working closely with Dawn Foods has helped her business evolve and prosper, Hart says. She is preparing to
start a private label cake business, featuring decadent
2-pound cakes.
" I'm excited about the future of being a food entrepreneur, " she says, adding she recently added a new project
Stephanie Hart of Brown Sugar Bakery advocates a different
approach to thinking in the era of COVID.

bakemag.com | JAN-FEB 2021 > 15


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bake - January/February 2021

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