- Creative whimsy goes into every one of Crystal Caron’s pastry delights at The Sugar Rose Bake Shop.
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Cupcake by cupcake, Crystal Caron carefully designs towers of frosting topped with multicolor sprinkles. Bright topping options splay across her countertop. The Sugar Rose Bake Shop in Gabe’s Plaza off Mount Rose Avenue in Springettsbury Township is a festival of color and culinary delights.
Across Crystal’s spacious café, visitors sip cappuccino and savor sweet sticky buns, guilt-free keto crème brûlée, delicate French macarons, and a rotating assortment of soups, sandwiches, and salads. The visual backdrop is a vibrant array of Lego bouquets and wall hangings that welcome all.
“I definitely want everyone to feel like they’re welcome here,” Crystal says. “We just want everybody to feel comfortable and this to be the place that they want to hang out.”
Artist meets entrepreneur
A creative at heart, Crystal didn’t begin her entrepreneurial journey in the world of pastry. A decade ago, the Air Force veteran was crafting and selling jewelry. At one vendor event, jewelry sellers were overly abundant. The organizer told Crystal she could display her jewelry if she also sold baked goods.
“I had no idea what I was doing,” Crystal says, “and I sold six dozen cupcakes and two necklaces.”
In the process, she discovered a new passion. Crystal shifted focus and launched the first iteration of her bakery, Charity’s Cupcakes, in 2013. Around the same time, she enrolled at YTI Career Institute in Lancaster to study culinary arts.
By 2017, when she graduated, Crystal had expanded her creations well beyond cupcakes and decided it was time for a rebranding. A mash-up of her fascination with “Alice in Wonderland,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and all things bright and whimsical became The Sugar Rose Bake Shop.
Her first shop was a 253-square-foot kitchen and a single table in Red Lion, which she soon expanded to a 600-square-foot bakery. As her baking experimentation broadened, Crystal dreamed of a bigger space where people could gather to share her creations, where she could teach others the joy of artistic baking.
In July 2022, Crystal found her current location, a bright, brick-lined café at the far end of Gabe’s Plaza with ample room for seating and a kitchen bigger than those at both of her previous locations combined. Beyond her original made-to-order items, she finally was able to increase her offerings to include keto and lunch options and to offer her goods wholesale to local restaurants.
A place for experiential learning
With the expanded kitchen and café, Crystal also was able to welcome students from the Red Lion Career Partners Program into her shop. Every week, students with special needs, along with their mentor, help bake cookies, wash dishes, stock the self-serve area, and keep the space looking pristine.
Crystal, a mom of five, some with special needs, has embraced the opportunity to connect students with job opportunities.
Having a larger space also has opened the door for Crystal to offer baking and pastry decorating classes. From baby Yoda cake decorating to making multi-hued flower bouquet cupcakes and rainbow-spiked hedgehog cakes, Crystal’s classes let students delve into her colorful culinary world.
Students from age 5, baking with their parents, to senior citizens can learn and hone their baking skills under her instruction.
With her dream always expanding, Crystal can’t imagine ever not owning a bake shop. While the work is hard and the hours long, she has loved seeing her vision become a sweet reality.