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Virginia Beach bakery earns award for unique business model

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Posted at 6:15 PM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 18:23:24-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - If the Sugar Plum Fairy lived in Hampton Roads, she would probably live here at the Sugar Plum Bakery in Virginia Beach.

And why wouldn’t she want to hang out here? The staff who put together these sweet edible works of art are as kind as they are talented.

“It’s a wonderful place to work, and the people are great and we’re just a big family - a big team - and we have people who’ve been here since 1997,” according to manager Trish Clark.

And that’s not all that’s makes this little shop on Laskin Road so sweet. The bakery opened its doors in 1987 as a nonprofit with a specific mission.

“We train people with disabilities and created an integrated work environment where non-disabled individuals are working with [people with] disabilities, and we’ve created a thriving business that is successful.”

Successful because of workers like Naomi. Next month, she'll have worked at the bakery a year.

"I pretty much make money and I love the people," she told us.

“This place is amazing; our mission statement is amazing. You just talked to Naomi - she’s like the boss. She’s been working here a long time, and she keeps us all straight.”

Which is no easy task lately. They day we visited, there was a steady stream of customers coming in to order the beautifully decorated cakes and other treats. And the phones were ringing constantly, with people ordering desserts for the holidays.

“It's crazy ‘cause its Thanksgiving, so it's nuts and we’re short staffed, so if you want a job, come to Sugar Plum Bakery.”

We almost felt bad interrupting the flow of things on this crazy busy day, but we didn’t want the season to go by without recognizing its leader and her staff of Sugar Plum Fairies.

News 3 surprised Trish with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank.

"I think that’s great! What a surprise," she said.

And like Trish mentioned, they are hiring. So, if you are looking for a job, she tells me they pay $15 an hour.

“It’s a big team, so we kind of do everything. There could be times when you’re washing a dish or scrubbing a floor, so we do everything, but it’s a fun place to work - it really is.”

Related: People Taking Action: Remembering our veterans while working up a sweat!

The fun is just icing on the cake.

“We’ve proven that people that seem unemployable are employable and we can make a successful and thriving community together.”

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, click here.