South Elgin gets another specialty cookie shop with Sweetness
South Elgin is experiencing a cookie renaissance.
Just a couple of months after a national specialty cookie shop opened about a mile away on Randall Road, Sweetness Cookie Company is slated to open Oct. 7 in the strip mall at 454 Redington Dr., about a block off Randall just south of Home Depot.
Vanessa Bucaro of Bartlett said she's taking something she loved doing for fun and had built into a home business and is now taking it to the next level with the brick-and-mortar location.
"I love baking -- and I really love cookies," Bucaro said. "They're my thing."
After a divorce, Bucaro, a former teacher, was looking for a new path.
She started volunteering to bring specially decorated themed cookies to her son's high school football games. Like most things she bakes, she went over the top with designs.
"I'm just a little extra all the time," she said. The feedback was positive.
"People were always asking, 'Why aren't you selling this stuff?', and I guess I had never really thought about it," she said.
So she took their advice and started a home-based cookie business.
"It really took off," she said. "It got so busy, and I was booked out every week. I couldn't even breathe."
She quickly outgrew baking at home and searched for a commercial kitchen but couldn't find anything to fit her needs.
"I was pretty defeated," she said. "So I threw this crazy idea together to open my own place."
She found her current location last year but was apprehensive about a space bigger than she envisioned.
"At the same time, this area is wonderful," she said. "This just seemed like the perfect opportunity. So I decided to go big or go home."
She signed the lease on Jan. 1 on the former Nextel store that had been vacant for years. In the time that it took to go through all the planning and building, social media juggernaut Crumbl Cookies announced it was opening just up the street.
"I can't say I was thrilled when I saw that sign go up," she said. "I'm not gonna lie. I probably did cry and say, 'I'm done. I should just stop now.' "
Friends convinced her that her offerings were unique.
"I'm hoping people see the difference between the two of us and support us both because we are both part of this community," she said.
Bucaro will offer several different styles, including big, thick half-pound gourmet cookies stuffed with fillings like candy bars and Nutella. She says past customers have loved her lemon-ricotta cookie, so she'll frequently have citrus-flavored cookies. She'll also offer hand-decorated sugar cookies, cake pops and cinnamon rolls. Sweetness will also serve gourmet ice cream and cold brew coffee.
The large lobby has several tables for dining in, and Bucaro said she has plans for people to be able to order ahead online.
Bucaro said she's looking forward to the grand opening in a couple of weeks after the grind of starting a business from scratch.
"I hate when people say, 'This is my baby,' " she said. "This is not my baby. But I grew it from absolutely nothing. So it means a lot to me. To see people wanting to come in and get my stuff is a very rewarding and humbling experience for me."