Local bakeries weather the pandemic

Despite a significant decrease in sales, sweet shops find ways to keep their doors open


Stacy Correra

Though COVID-19 forced many local businesses to shut down, some restaurants like Riverside Bakery have remained open for curbside pickup. Coronavirus has impacted what was a booming economy in unprecedented ways.

Apryl Hanneman, Contributing Writer

Since March 20 when Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a stay-at-home order, many local bakeries have struggled to stay afloat, including Kiera Confections, Riverside Bakeshop, and Sweet Peas Emporium.   

Even the most popular bakeries throughout McHenry County are currently experiencing a significant decrease in sales. All the local bakeries that have decided to stay open have been undergoing a huge decrease in their normal traffic.

Tracie Rice from Riverside Bakeshop says that they have seen a “substantial decrease in business.” This decrease in sales is due to the stay-at-home order, which keeps regular customers from coming in. 

Riverside Bakeshop and Sweet Peas Emporium have decided to stay open, however, they now focus mainly on call-ahead orders, limiting the number of customers in the shop.

Jordan Grundy, the senior manager at Sweet Peas Emporium states, “We decided to take pick up orders only. No one is allowed in the store right now.” Riverside Bakeshop has also been following CDC guidelines, but unlike Sweet Peas Emporium, they still allow customers in the shop.

Once the pandemic settles, the bakeries feel the need to advertise more than ever before to get sales back up again. Grundy explains, “We probably will have to step up our advertising game to get our name back out there.” 

Kim Loewe, owner of Kiera Confections, thinks that in the future many bakeries will tend to focus more on delivering baked goods. “It may make bakeries focus on things that can be shipped or delivered versus customers coming into their shop.” 

Kiera Confections has decided to temporarily close since they mostly just cater events. Kim Loewe, owner of Kiera Confections states, “Parties and weddings have been canceled or rescheduled, so it didn’t make sense to remain open at this time.” They also decided to close for everyone’s health and safety, and aren’t deemed an essential business.  

Even in this time of crisis, Sweet Peas Emporium and Riverside Bakeshop have donated baked goods to the hospital and the police station for all their hard work during this scary time. Kiera Confections also donated gift certificates to different charities and causes right up until the shutdown to help out. 

Although local bakeries are currently struggling to keep drawing in business, they are still able to keep their doors open.