Young entrepreneurs bake up a business


LUMBERTON — Two young entrepreneurs have launched a business that offers sweet treats that are colorful and playful.

Sugar Art Custom Cakes and Sweets, located at 1985 N. Roberts Ave., specializes in what owners Justin Herring and Ernest Strickland call gravity-defying cakes as tall as 5 feet.

Both Lumberton natives, the Herring and Strickland moved to Atlanta after Herring earned his business degree from Campbell University.

In Atlanta, they opened Ernie’s Edible Visions, but a few months ago they d ecided to come home and open their own sweet shop here, which offers 12 flavors of cupcakes at one time from a total of 350 flavors; eight flavors of gourmet candy at one time from a total of more than 200 flavors; and more than 25 chocolate dipped items. There are also ready-made cakes to purchase for any last-minute needs.

A decision that often comes much later in life — to be one’s own boss — occurred early for these two.

“We were both tired of working for somebody else and not enjoying our jobs …,” Herring said.

When they held their grand opening event on Nov. 5, they had prepared 60 candied apples and hundreds of cupcakes that quickly sold out. They have the full support of their families, who helped that day.

“Mama was running the front, my stepdad was in the back helping us run stuff. My little sister was also at the front counter. My older sister was in the back and then my best friend’s sister was in the kitchen as well,” Herring said. “We got it done.”

Toppings for candied apples and every other component are made fresh except for chocolate and branded candy bar components, Strickland said.

Their pledge for their specialty cakes is: No two cakes will ever be exactly alike. They also want to keep their cakes and other sweets within a price range that most people can afford. They will start with the client’s budget and create a cake they can afford. All components of the cake are edible also, Strickland said.

Strickland, 21, is the artist of the operation and learned how to bake and decorate cakes when he worked at a grocery store bakery. Beyond that, he is self-taught.

With his business degree in hand, Herring, 22, helps prepare the treats but is handling the business end.

The decision to be one’s own boss came early for the two young men, especially early for Herring.

“At 10 years old, he would buy big boxes of candy and sell it at school to make a profit,” his mom, Crystal Martin, said.

Sugar Art Custom Cakes and Sweets is open Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will deliver cakes.

To order one, call at 910-674-4555.

Justin Herring, left, and Ernest Strickland show some of their custom made candied apples for sale. The city natives opened Sugar Art Custom Cakes and Sweets on Nov. 5.
http://robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_Cakes1A.jpgJustin Herring, left, and Ernest Strickland show some of their custom made candied apples for sale. The city natives opened Sugar Art Custom Cakes and Sweets on Nov. 5. Terri Ferguson Smith / The Robesonian

Cupcakes are always for sale at Sugar Art Custom Cakes and Sweets.
http://robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_Cupcakes.jpgCupcakes are always for sale at Sugar Art Custom Cakes and Sweets. Terri Ferguson Smith / The Robesonian

One of the bakery’s custom cakes.
http://robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_Cakes-8.jpgOne of the bakery’s custom cakes. Courtesy Photo

Chocolate covered treats.
http://robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_Cakes-4.jpgChocolate covered treats. Courtesy Photo

Sugar Art Custom Cakes and Sweets creates unique cakes for every occasion.
http://robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_Cakes-6.jpgSugar Art Custom Cakes and Sweets creates unique cakes for every occasion. Courtesy Photo

By Terri Ferguson Smith

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Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.

 

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