Brown Sugar Bakery expands to Ashburn neighborhood

In celebration of Women's Small Business Month, the owner of Brown Sugar Bakery on Chicago's South Side is embarking on a delectable expansion.

Known for its famed caramel cake, the bakery is expanding its presence to the Ashburn community, taking over a decades-old candy shop in the 7600 block of South Western Avenue.

Stephanie Hart, the visionary behind Brown Sugar Bakery, acquired the factory in December 2020 from the original owners of Cupid Candies. Hart secured a $500,000 grant from the state's Minority-Owned Business Capital and Infrastructure Program, enabling the bakery to generate employment opportunities, boost revenues, and breathe new life into underserved neighborhoods.

The renovation of the factory required approximately $1.5 million in investment, and on Thursday, the facility officially opened its doors. With this expansion, Brown Sugar Bakery will now offer nationwide shipping options thanks to its enhanced production space.

Illinois Governor and Lieutenant Governor were among those who toured the facility during the opening.

"With the opening of this site, Stephane becomes the only Black woman-owned candy and chocolate manufacturer not just in Illinois, but in the entire United States," said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton.

Hart's plans extend beyond the bakery itself, as she collaborates with other businesses to manufacture baked goods, just in time for the upcoming holiday season.