Life’s sweet for bakery owners
STEUBENVILLE — Life has become a little sweeter for one Jefferson County Joint Vocational School alumna after a near-tragedy brought a long-term dream to reality sooner than planned.
Nineteen-year-old Gabie Clark and her mother, Alexandria, opened the doors this summer at the Sugar Rushed Bakery at 1409 Sinclair Ave.
Clark, who graduated from the JVS and Indian Creek High School in 2016, was a culinary arts student at the JVS and studied baking and pastry at Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky. In February, she received a call that changed the course of her career.
She learned her brother, Hunter Adkins, sustained head trauma from a fall on the JCJVS campus and she made the choice to leave school and help her family during his recovery. Hunter, who is a senior carpentry student, returned home from a Pittsburgh hospital but has undergone months of physical therapy.
Thoughts soon turned to taking the bakery, which the family operated out of their Wintersville home for friends and family. It had been registered as an LLC since 2011 and Hunter’s accident moved those goals up on the timeline. Alexandria said her husband, Benjamin, is a local real estate agent and the family purchased the former Lala’s Diner location in June. The bakery operates in one portion of the building while Benjamin will maintain a Century 21 office next door. It includes an apartment so Hunter and the other children can stay nearby when not in school. Updates were made to the building and the bakery held a soft opening in August, offering everything from cookies and cupcakes to brownies and confections.
A grand opening is planned at 9 a.m. on Saturday, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
There is plenty of seating to enjoy truffles or a batch of frosted or unfrosted brownies while cupcakes come in assorted sizes and flavors from the classic chocolate and vanilla to banana split, pina colada, salted caramel pretzel and lumberjack, the latter which contains maple and bacon.
Sugar Rushed Bakery has 23 regular flavors, three fillings and a dozen seasonal toppings, but flavors regularly change and pineapple upside down cake is on the menu for September.
Frosting is made fresh daily and gluten-free frosting cups are offered. Cakes are available for special occasions such graduations and weddings and come in half and whole sheet sizes.
“This was the plan all along,” Alexandria said, adding she had left her job as a drug and alcohol counselor in Washington, Pa., to care for her injured son. “This (bakery) was our silver lining from the accident. You don’t know why things happen, but this was the reason.”
Gabie credits former culinary arts teacher Angie Allison with supporting her dreams by encouraging her creativity in class and recognized current instructor Glenn Zalenski for educating her on business operations.
“It’s always been about baking and pastry, but I was not sure what I wanted to do. Allison let me do experimental baking and fostered my abilities and I learned about business and customer service with Zalenski,” she said.
“It’s a lot of work for being 19, but it’s awesome and fun,” she commented. “It’s not like a job to me.”
Business hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays.
For information or to place orders, contact Sugar Rushed Bakery at (740) 282-0977. It is available online at sugarrushedbakery.com as well as on Facebook, Instagram and soon on Twitter.