The Sweet Shop

by Terry Watson | March 13th, 2014
Margaret Elaine and the Sweet Shop Team

Margaret Elaine and the Sweet Shop Team

For the past three years The Sweet Shop Homemade Pound Cakes by Margaret Elaine Designs has been providing fresh, homemade pound cakes to Greensboro and surrounding areas. Shop owner Margaret Elaine started her business armed with simply her mother’s secret pound cake recipes. From her mother’s kitchen, decades ago, to the Shop’s vast commercial kitchen, Elaine maintains that although she is creating cakes on a much greater scale, the business will always remain about the recipes and the cakes.

From upgrading equipment to expanding the vintage and collectable décor to the addition of free Wi-Fi, credit card processing and the highly anticipated and requested shipping capability, the last three years have been a whirlwind of growth for The Sweet Shop. Margaret Elaine has spent years perfecting (and guarding) her mother’s recipes while introducing hundreds more of her own. Yes, hundreds. The Sweet Shop offers a selection of over 300 different exotic pound cake flavors, many of which she has up to four additional presentations. Despite the bounty of flavors available, The Sweet Shop is dedicated to producing daily, fresh-baked, never frozen, kosher delights.

From the ever-popular lemon pound cake to coconut pineapple pound cake to the shop’s latest and recent sensation, banana pudding pound cake, The Sweet Shop has something that will please every pallet. In fact, the dessertery is literally the world’s only provider of such a vast amount of delicious pound cakes. Research has been conducted and The Sweet Shop wins hands down. The Shop is currently on track to set a Guinness World Record for producing the most pound cakes in the world. Although Elaine says the process is painstaking because it requires the preparation and filming of all 300 varieties, she is excited and willing to put in the work to make the seemingly impossible feat a reality.

Margaret Elaine has always been willing to do whatever it took to make her dream come to pass. It has taken time for her to perfect her precious cakes; nevertheless it’s not a chore. It’s her passion. She likens herself to a food chemist. As a child she loved chemistry and even dreamed of one day becoming a chemist. She understands the chemistry of food and has discovered what food types work well together. “I can smell something and automatically know what it tastes like and what ingredients are included,” she says. “Some things don’t mix. I know what goes together. You have to know what is too overpowering and what isn’t. It really does take a great deal of chemistry to get the product right. I’ve tested items and ingredients and I know what to add and not add.” Margaret Elaine is excited about all the new twists, flavors and additions she is developing. However, she is very cautious and guarded with her masterpieces and new ideas and protects her intellectual property from would-be copycats.

There have been a few ideas that she has proudly released to the waiting world including her new line of chocolate covered bacon treats; which include milk, white and Cajun dipped chocolate. Sounds unorthodox? It is! But that is exactly what she says makes the partnership work. The salty and the sweet fuse together producing a new, curious taste and flavor that is difficult to describe other than simply delicious.

The Sweet Shop’s expansion hasn’t stopped with the introduction of new recipes and tasty sweets. Once Greensboro’s hidden gem, the shop has gained so much exposure that it has been contacted by the well-known kitchen appliance maker, Kitchen Aid to be featured in a commercial for its products. It’s all amazing to Elaine, who won’t necessarily say she never dreamed of such success, but will admit she is absolutely grateful and appreciative of every door that has opened. Coming soon in 20114, after a great deal of consideration, planning and purchasing, Margaret Elaine will open the upscale, Margaret Elaine Wine Loft.

The addition will be located in the upper unit directly atop The Sweet Shop. The two businesses complement each other perfectly. It provides a nice, relaxing, casual, after-hours refuge for a mature crowd. Margaret Elaine has even developed a line of exotic cakes and light food exclusively for the Loft. In addition to regular business hours the new space is available for anniversaries, luncheons, business meetings, birthdays, Bar Mitzvahs, weddings, receptions and much more.

Just like The Sweet Shop, the loft will have an area available for local artists to showcase their talents; including live jazz music, book signings and jewelry showcases. The new loft is more than another stream of income for Margaret Elaine. Rather, she is interested in discovering what a community needs and looks within her own abilities for ways to meet those needs. As it happens, her ability to open the loft will meet a need and fall in line with part of her entrepreneurial vision. Ask Margaret Elaine and she will tell you her ideas far surpass what patrons currently see.

The Sweet Shop and the Margaret Elaine Wine Loft are simply two of the businesses she has established under the Margaret Elaine Designs umbrella. At least six other business are being planned, implemented and perfected, including: Margaret Elaine Interior Designs (the decorative force behind The Sweet Shop and The Wine Loft); Margaret Elaine Apparel Designs; Margaret Elaine Productions; Margaret Elaine Furniture Designs (she has already designed and produced a few original pieces); Margaret Elaine Apparel (she has previously been involved in a few runway shows); and OOBBOO Anthony and Brandon Tankard Apparel (Out of Bondage Because of Opportunity-a jean line developed by her sons).

It’s important to Margaret Elaine to use her own business to showcase her own talents and admonishes others to do the same. “If you have a talent to do something, don’t be afraid to showcase it even if other people say no. Find a way to do it,” she says. “Find out your purpose and go with it. It’s just giving back to God what He gave to you.”

Not only does she empower herself, but she uses her resources to empower others as well. On Saturday, October 18, Margaret Elaine will produce what she has dubbed “Fashion Week in Greensboro.” The event will be a unique show of coordinated apparel, hats and cakes. Following the event attendees will be welcomed to divulge in the featured cakes. Tickets are scheduled to be $60 per person which will include a pound cake buffet and access to the show. Margaret Elaine’s excitement is barely containable. She has been planning the new event, which has never been done in Greensboro, for a year. In keeping with her belief of investing in one’s own self, the event will be produced by Margaret Elaine Productions.

The growth that Elaine has experienced over the past three years has been phenomenal. Much of it has come as a surprise to Elaine, but a great deal is simply the fruition of a plan and vision coming to pass. Nevertheless, she says none of her success would have been possible without the help of her two sons, Anthony and Brandon. She taught them at a very young age to cook for themselves.

Her sons have inherited the family entrepreneurial spirit and are helping her branch out with an additional store in Los Angeles, California; and if the vision grows according to plan possibly franchising within three to five years. But Margaret Elaine isn’t rushing into anything. She says she always reminds herself, “It’s said, it’s written, and it’s going to be done.” If she continues accordingly there’s no doubt the remainder of her vision will come to pass.

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