As a young Black woman growing up on the South Side, I didn’t see tangible contemporary examples of business owners I could see myself in. That was until I got the opportunity to meet Stephanie Hart, owner of Brown Sugar Bakery.
I first met her when I was in the sixth grade. My mom is in love with chess pie, a southern classic that most bakeries seldom make. So when she found out that Stephanie made her most cherished treat we became regulars. At that time the bakery was located just off of 75th and Evans.
Over time my mother and Stephanie got closer and our visits to Brown Sugar Bakery grew longer, as they would always sit and chat for a while. What I didn’t fully understand then was that I had been given a rare opportunity to witness purpose at work. It is because of the access granted by my mother’s connection to Stephanie that I got a closer view than most of the beginnings of Brown Sugar Bakery.
Through the years, as Brown Sugar Bakery and Stephanie grew in notoriety and acclaim, I’ve cheered her success as my own. The pride I feel in constantly seeing Stephanie get the notice she more than deserves truly cannot be encapsulated in words. It makes my spirit rejoice.
With the level of attention the bakery has received over the years, she could have relocated the bakery elsewhere, to places that most would assume to be more profitable or beneficial to her business. However, Stephanie is committed to the South Side, committed to Greater Grand Crossing, committed to 75th Street.
It’s not just the delicious treats that make Brown Sugar Bakery an ultimate best, but the passion and commitment to community exhibited by its phenomenal owner Stephanie Hart.
Note: I got the opportunity to speak with Stephanie. Not only did we speak about the importance of community and having spaces to enjoy in our own neighborhood, but I was also able to give her her flowers. Read the full interview here.
Brown Sugar Bakery, 328 E. 75th St. Open Tuesday–Saturday, 10am–6pm; Sunday 12pm–5pm. (773) 224-6262. brownsugarbakerychicago.com