“I could make the sun shine from pure desire” – Steve Winwood, 1986 in “Higher Love”
If there were ever two young entrepreneurs that could make the sun shine from pure desire, I think I may have met them. The lyric from the song “Higher Love” epitomizes Kaleigh Ligoci and Lauren Scarpelli.
On Thursday, December 3rd, the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon and officially welcomed Kaleigh, Lauren and their Sugar Blossom Cake Shop to the village of Liverpool, New York. While they didn’t seek it out, the opening of their bakery has generated a lot of press attention as it’s been featured in newspaper articles and television. Their glass dessert cases on the first floor of the bakery are filled with colorful macaroons, cupcakes, cookies, bars, brownies and gluten free pastries. Specialty coffee is served by the cup or purchased by the bag. The second-floor is a spacious loft with high ceilings and a lot of natural light. It’s available for taste testing and custom consultations for weddings and special events.
Kaleigh and Lauren both have an energetic, bubbly and passionate personalities, but it would take more than those qualities to move their decision to open their own bakery from point A to point B. Despite their young age, they both have what it takes to make their business a successful endeavor as they’ve complimented their educations with hands-on practical experience in the baking industry. Kaleigh studied baking production and management at Alfred State College. Lauren studied baking and pastry arts at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks. Kaleigh worked for several local entities including Mario’s Bakery in North Syracuse, the Turning Stone Resort in Verona and the Half Moon Bakery in Jamesville, which is where she met Lauren.
Kaleigh is the cake creator for the bakery. She has an impressive following on her social media as “The Little Cake Artist” and is well known throughout the CNY area. Lauren is the head baker at Sugar Blossom and is regarded as an outstanding scratch-baker. When you meet them it’s apparent that that the chemistry between the two is tremendous, which is what led them to pursue a dream of building and growing something of their own. Both knew they had to combine their chemistry and passion with an executable plan.
Henry Ford once said “Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.” As many entrepreneurs know, starting a new business can be intimidating but starting a new business during the COVID-19 pandemic can be downright frightening . . . whether you have a plan and enthusiasm or not.
Kaleigh’s and Lauren’s dream began back in November of 2019. Patience and persistence would be imperative for them given the business plan and the environment that we’ve all been trying to navigate through. Many of you have heard the metaphor “success is an iceberg”. What that means is that people only see the tip of the iceberg (success) but the bulk of the iceberg is beneath the surface and goes completely unseen. The bulk represents planning, hard work, focus, learning, patience and persistence that is required to create a successful business.
Following their initial business meeting with the Onondaga Small Business Development Center (SBDC), this dynamic duo went to work. With the help of the Onondaga SBDC, they researched the industry, created a business plan, selected an accountant and an attorney, worked with a real estate agent to secure a location, and formulated financial projections prior to securing an SBA loan. They were “professionally persistent” at chipping away at the variety of legal, financial, and logistical steps that needed to be accomplished prior to selling one item. As they put it, “Mark and the Onondaga SBDC guided us through the entire process. We felt confident speaking with and doing business with Mark. He helped set us up for success and we’re so appreciative that we were able take advantage of this great service!”
Lauren and Kaleigh have been very successful utilizing social media to create awareness of their products and services through creation of a web site and an Instagram page. Additionally, joining the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce has helped to create that additional geographic “buzz”. So much so that it’s led to one of the early challenges of their business ... meeting the demand for their gastronomical delights. Sugar Blossom has enough diversification through their seasonal pastries, wedding cakes and ability to accommodate special events that they will be well positioned for the future. Ultimately, the success of any bakery hinges on the quality of products. Creating a niche for their bakery through stunning cakes and unusual pastries will set them apart and help them to build a loyal customer base.
The village of Liverpool has fully embraced the bakery and its delectable baked goods. If you’d like to visit their bakery, the Sugar Blossom Cake Shop is located at 304 Tulip Street in Liverpool. I would strongly recommend that you get there early for the best selection. They’re open Wednesday through Friday from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 A.M. to 1 P.M. You can find them on the web at www.sugarblossomcakeshop.com or follow them on Instagram where they have close to 2,500 followers.
Article published in the 'The Central New York Business Journal' on January 04, 2021
Article by Mark Pitonzo, a NYS certified business advisor at the Small Business Development Center’s satellite office located at Onondaga Community College @Liverpool. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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