Ontario bakery owners cite guilt over selling sugary desserts as reason to close

Click to play video: 'How to make your favourite holiday treats healthier'
How to make your favourite holiday treats healthier
The holidays are the perfect time to bake and indulge in festive treats, but it’s also important to recognize the amount of added sugar in our favourite desserts, especially when consuming more than usual over the holidays. Holistic nutritionist Jesse Lane Lee joins Minna Rhee with some alternatives. – Dec 1, 2023

After a dozen years, a popular London, Ont., bakery is closing shop as the owners cite guilty feelings about selling high-sugar desserts and processed foods amid their health journeys.

Rebecca Hamilton, co-owner of Chick Boss Cake, said their lifestyle has changed so much over the last few years to prioritize health and wellness, and “running a bakery has begun to feel very unaligned and inauthentic.”

“It’s just completely unaligned with who we’ve become as people and the cognitive dissonance that we’ve been experiencing is absolutely real,” she told Global News.

Along with her husband Chad, the pair first opened the bakery 12 years ago and had three locations – St. Thomas, Kitchener and Woodstock.

The London location at 222 Wellington St. opened five years ago.

“With everything we’ve been learning regarding sugar, food dyes, and processed foods, this isn’t an industry either of us want to continue being a part of,” stated the closing statement posted to the Chick Boss Cake Facebook page last week.

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Hamilton later told Global News that “oftentimes the right decisions are the most difficult to make.”

“It would have been much easier for us to just continue doing it,” she said. “It’s been a great business and we’ve been very successful, but at the end of the day … when you feel so unaligned with something, you just lose all the passion for it.”

She stressed the impact of her and her husband’s health journey, saying that she stopped eating sugar and most processed foods around three years ago.

“We’ve really taken the health and wellness thing seriously, and we just couldn’t continue promoting sugar and unhealthy products,” Hamilton said.

Aside from that, she also said ongoing issues of vandalism and break-ins throughout the downtown was “icing on the cake.”

“We could not continue to push through hard challenges in a business when you’ve lost the passion to get through it,” she said. “I think all of the break-ins, vandalism, and dealing with a really unsafe place to run a business was a contributing factor for sure, but it wasn’t the root cause of the closure.”

This break-in is the latest of at least five at Chick Boss Cake’s London location. Ben Harrietha/980 CFPL

On the topic of small business owners, Hamilton added that “it’s become one of the hardest jobs.”

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“Aside from costs and expenses, unsafe communities to do business in is just really impossible,” she said.

But since announcing the closure of Chick Boss Cake, Hamilton said the response from the public has been overwhelming.

“I started bawling my eyes out reading some of the comments because they were just so heartfelt,” she said. “I’ve built such strong connections and friendships through the business and I’m so grateful for that…. (But) I’ve been so busy working in the business that I had no idea the level of impact it’s really had on the community.”

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