APEX — Take one step into Sweet Cheeks Bakery and the warm, sugary aroma might conjure up memories of your grandmothers house.
Thats what owner Jackie Green was going for.
When I was growing up, if you were having a bad day, all you had to do was go to Grandmas and shed say, Go into the kitchen and get yourself a piece of cake, and it made everything better, Green said.
At Sweet Cheeks in Apex, old-fashioned cakes and pies sit on the bakery countertop, much like they always have in the kitchens of Southern homes.
Fresh coconut cake and butter pound cake compete for space among other favorites like sweet potato pie and carrot cake.
Extra-large cookies and slices of cheesecake are off to the side.
The caramel cake never lasts long, Green said.
We make it the old-fashioned way, she explained. No powdered sugar we brown the caramel in a cast-iron skillet on the stove.
And the silky buttermilk pie? Its lip-smacking good, Green said.
Sweet Cheeks touts its baked goods as just like Grandma used to make. Indeed, Green learned to bake from her own grandmother, whose portrait hangs in the front of the shop with the inscription my inspiration.
The bakery got its start in Greens home in Holly Springs.
I was in corporate management, and after the third layoff, I decided it was time to do what I knew best and that was to bake, she said.
Greens background gave her a leg up in building her business, and she moved to the current storefront on East Williams Street 10 months ago.
We went to Apex Peak Fest and got our cakes into local businesses, she said. We just got out as much as possible.
Word of mouth has built a base of regular customers who come by for a slice of what Green calls Sunday cakes.
When I was growing up, Sunday wasnt Sunday without something sweet, she said.
The bakery also specializes in wedding, birthday and celebration cakes.
A proponent of entrepreneurship, Green wants to mentor others. An Apex High School student will intern at the bakery this year.
Green has also welcomed Girl Scouts and other groups to tour the bakery.
In September, she will begin teaching an evening class for adults on operating a home-based bakery as part of the Lifelong Learning program through Wake County schools.
Its about empowering people to start their own business, Green said.
She hopes Sweet Cheeks will become a place where people will regularly visit with their families to have a slice of cake.
The bakery will soon expand its hours, and Green has plans to offer a birthday package for a one-stop celebration from invitations to cake.
Oh, and she wants to add karaoke too.
I want people to come in here and feel the love, Green said.