By Pete Wurdock

If Sarah Sumbera had to pick a theme song for her life right now, it would be easy: the classic Def Leppard hit “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”

Sumbera is a radio station manager who is becoming a culinary star. Her new business, Sugar Heaven Home Bakery, is taking Newberry and the surrounding area by storm.

Sarah’s official soft opening was on Valentine’s Day, when lucky couples got to indulge in one of her sweet creations.

On March 15, Sugar Heaven held her first “porch pop up” event. To keep it simple, she offered a limited selection of items: cinnamon rolls, chocolate cupcakes, and blueberry cream cheese rolls. The event was scheduled to last three hours, but she sold out in 58 minutes. She has since scheduled and held more pop-up events, with a menu that shifts as she learns what customers want – like cinnamon rolls and cupcakes.

“Everything I make is made 100% from scratch,” she said. “Nothing from a box will ever come out of my kitchen.”

Married to Travis Sumbera, owner of 96.7 FlashFM in Newberry, the couple manages the station together. After handling the advertising for FlashFM for two years, she knows how to write catchy copy for her new home bakery. Now she is “baking the world a better place”.

Her love of baking started when she was nine years old and decided she wanted to make a chocolate pie. Her mother said she just needed to put pudding inside a pie crust. It wasn’t a total disaster, but it left a lot to be desired. She was disillusioned with the result and never asked her mother for baking advice again.

Sarah started figuring things out on her own, and when she was 10, developed her own side hustle: selling sweet creations at her step father’s workplace.

Prior to moving to Newberry she had several stints in the food service industry. She loved baking and continued to learn but limited herself to special occasions like birthday parties and special events with friends and never had the thought of pursuing it full time. She stayed busy in the kitchen over the years, but the recent creation of Sugar Heaven was the result of a New Year’s Resolution.

“My New Year’s resolution was to stop procrastinating. I read the book The Richest Man in Babylon, by George S. Calson, and there was a chapter on procrastination,” she said. “Procrastination is a tricky thing because we often don’t realize that we are doing it. I was waiting to be more prepared, waiting for a better time, waiting for child care; always waiting for something.”

“I thought if I turned my hobby into a career then I would stop enjoying it,” Sarah reflected.

Sarah is learning that it’s not uncommon for people to drive 45 minutes to an hour for delicious food. Sugar Heaven is becoming a destination for people who want quality baked goods. “My focus is producing quality items. I am still working on the decorating skills and some things I see online are above my skill set, but I want everyone to walk away pleased.”

She hopes to start using locally produced eggs, butter, and fruit when the seasons allow it. She uses no preservatives. In the future, she hopes to grow the produce she bakes with, like strawberries, blueberries, and rhubarb.

She is easy to find on social media and has a fan base that grows daily. Sugar Heaven accepts Venmo, Cashapp, and cash. Sugar Heaven can create dessert tables for birthday parties, baby showers, weddings, or any celebration and she has a separate menu from her regularly advertised fare. The new bakery abides by Michigan’s cottage food laws and every item comes with a sticker notification of adherence.

Building a small business takes time, but Sarah was made for this. Her gregarious and humorous personality draws people in, and she is anxious to build relationships with her customers.

Sarah believes sugar is a love language.

“I don’t see anyone as competition because, as a baker, I feel like it is your own art and self-expression and I don’t feel like you can compete with somebody else’s art and self-expression,” Sarah said. “Plus, there’s always room for more cake.”