When Crystal Burton goes out to eat, the first thing she looks at is the dessert menu.
“I’m a sweets person,” said Burton, owner of Sweet Tooth Parlor in Gloucester. “I love sweets.”
Burton, who started her cupcake company out of her kitchen, will be able to share her love of sweets and all food when Sweet Tooth Parlor opens as a café on Sept. 25.
The expansion of her business was made possible when she was awarded $48,000 in May from the Launch Gloucester program, which was one of three programs in the state that are part of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia Community Business Launch initiative. The Gloucester Main Street Preservation Trust and Gloucester Main Street Association oversee Launch Gloucester.
“I would say I’m still in shock,” Burton said this week. “I know it’s happened, but I don’t feel like it’s happened yet.”
Burton spent several weeks putting together a business plan and pitching her vision for a full bakery and café to a panel of judges.
“It was very tough,” she said. “We have a lot of stuff to go through and a lot of things to prepare and research. Once it was all done, it gave me a better perspective in being an entrepreneur.”
Burton, who will keep her job as a probation officer, said everything is starting to fall into place for her new eatery on Main Street, including a menu that certainly will include sweets, but also include sandwiches, soups, salads, quiches, fresh-baked bread, a salad-toppings bar and box lunches complete with southern banana pudding as a treat. In addition to cupcakes, Sweet Tooth Parlor will have cinnamon rolls, fudge, cakes, pies, biscotti, muffins cookies, Danishes and cheesecake. Burton will used locally sourced ingredients where she can.
The dream to open her own café started about six years ago. Burton began baking out of her home; once that got too busy, she had to expand and find a kitchen in a shared space with the Wild Rabbit Café.
“I really didn’t think it would get this big and that I’d have my own café and bakery,” Burton said. “I guess it was my love for being behind the bowl and spoon. I’m at such peace when I’m baking – I love to bake.”