GENEVA – Hey Sugar, a new business at 507 S. Third St., Suite E, Geneva, opened July 17. It features cupcakes, pastries, English toffee, soft-serve ice cream and other desserts, as well as coffee and tea.
Hey Sugar owner Sarika Singh, who used to own The Latest Crave Cupcake & English Toffee Shop, said along with the rebranding, she moved to a new, larger space that formerly was occupied by Forever Yogurt.
“With the desire to bring in exclusive product offerings and premium ingredients, we needed to move to a larger space,” Singh said in a news release about the new business. “That move brought a branding refresh and a new name that reflects the future of our business.”
While Hey Sugar will continue to offer cupcakes and toffee, the store partnered with pastry chef Jimmy MacMillan to create the dessert menu.
MacMillan has more than 20 years of kitchen experience and is known for his inventive desserts, according to the release. MacMillan received a nomination for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2009 and was awarded “Chicago Rising Star Pastry Chef” by Starchefs.com in 2011, according to the release.
Menu highlights include breakfast pastries, croissants, scones, muffins, brownie bars, homemade Milano cookies and mango mousse cups.
Soft-serve ice cream flavors range from vanilla, chocolate and vegan coconut to sage, lavender, charcoal and turmeric. Toppings include 24-carat gold leaf, cake pieces, cookies and cotton candy.
The team worked with Seattle’s award-winning Dillanos Coffee Roasters to create its own Hey Sugar-branded coffee for in-house and retail sales.
“The coffee is different. It’s award-winning – we did our research,” Singh said. “Geneva is inundated with cafés and bakeries. And part of that is that we search ingredients that other people don’t carry, and Dillanos is one of them.”
Dillanos representatives came to Geneva from Seattle to train the Hey Sugar team to brew the coffee on their La Marzocco coffee machinery – what Singh described as a “Lamborghini coffee machine.”
“It’s very precise, very easy to work with. It’s a high-end coffee machine,” Singh said.
Hey Sugar also offers tea options, including the 2012 Emperors Aged Keemun, which is oak barrel-aged for two years.
“The Rare Tea Company is in Chicago. ... It supplies tea to Michelin star-rated restaurants that have won accolades in their fields and culinary arts. We were lucky enough to get in touch and build a relationship to allow us to sell their teas,” Singh said.
Singh said Hey Sugar requires customers to wear masks and allows for social distancing inside. It also offers outdoor seating.
The inside space has been transformed into a floral wonderland, with a large-scale ice cream cone and a floral explosion popping out of the walls inspired by Singh’s trips to the flower markets in London and Paris.
Seating includes a pergola inside with bistro tables and chairs, swing chairs and a bathtub for a opportunity.
“It’s for Instagram moments. The interior walls, the bathtub … and the bathrooms are also Instagramable moments,” Singh said, referring to people taking photos of themselves and posting to social media.
Part of the interior decor has movable panels. It will refresh every six to eight months to give visitors something new to look at.
Singh has 15 to 18 employees. Her two children, ages 13 and seven, help out in the store, mopping the floor and cleaning tables, “learning about everyday life – not what you learn about in school.”
A resident of St. Charles Township, Singh said her husband is an entrepreneur who owns several businesses in the area.
As an Asian-American with children, her goal is to develop a concept that would be an inspiration for anyone, especially BIPOC – Black, Indigenous and people of color – mothers who are looking to carve out an entrepreneurial path.
Singh said when she came here from India, she spoke only Hindi and spoke no English, but is now fully bilingual.
“In our culture, there is a very big stereotype that every Indian is a doctor or an engineer,” Singh said. “People assume I work at the hospital here. … The minute someone says that to me, I just laugh. I’m like, ‘No.’ I tell them, ‘No, this is my shop.’”
Once the business model is perfect, Singh said she wants it to be ready to be available for a franchise within a year.
The store is closed on Mondays and is open other days at 10 a.m. It closes between 8 and 10 p.m.
For more information, visit www.HeySugarGeneva.com or call 630-262-8200.