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Meet Jackie Huebbe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackie Huebbe.

Hi Jackie, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
That’s a long story!

I have been passionate about baking and creating delicious things for as long as I can remember. It’s what I’ve always been the happiest doing. I was discouraged by friends and family when I wanted to make it my career because the hours are long and the work isn’t easy.

As a result, I tried to make the desk job lifestyle work, and it was a disaster. I was unhappy, and it just wasn’t fulfilling. I baked at home after work nearly every day and started to hone my recipes into things I was proud of while I made plans to leave office life.

By 2010, I began working nights and weekends in area bakeries and cafes to gain commercial kitchen experience.

In 2012, I had the unique opportunity to rent commercial kitchen space by the hour, and SugarBot Sweet Shop was officially born. By 2014, I had graduated culinary school and moved into a brick-and-mortar storefront space full time. In 2015, SugarBot Sweet Shop expanded again, this time into a permanently purchased storefront.

In 2018, my husband (Mark) & I expanded the business again by acquiring an old-fashioned soda fountain and ice cream parlor roughly a mile from the SugarBot location, called Little O’s Old Time Soda Fountain.

In 2021, we purchased a larger building to move Little O’s too, and we’re rebranding it as SugarBot Creamery. The new space should be open in early summer 2022 – which is just a few weeks away now. (We had plans for much sooner, but this supply chain delay stuff is serious!)

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Struggles come and go. COVID was tough, obviously. The expansions are always a bit tricky, too, but growth is never a smooth and predictable process.

The hardest parts for me are always the periods right before growth. Outgrowing a space is great, but trying to search for a new space, get the build-outs done, and add employees at the same time is hands down the most stressful part.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Absolutely! Since I have a few different brands, I’ll break things down by shop:

SugarBot Sweet Shop specializes in childhood favorites, better than you remember them. I love taking things I loved growing up, and making them high quality, tasty, and overall better.

Sometimes we’ll use things that weren’t used a lot in my childhood like real vanilla, dark brown sugar, and chocolate chips with high-quality chocolate (you won’t find Nestle or Hershey in our kitchen!). It also means going the extra mile and making things the way we’d want to eat them. An example of this is that our chocolate chip cookies have just as much chocolate by weight as flour.

We also make everything from scratch – even the marshmallows! We use traditional/original recipes and omit the weird shortcut ingredients like using modified box mixes for cakes. (I was always so surprised to learn how few places actually bake from scratch in the brick-and-mortar bakery world).

We have a lot of things we offer at SugarBot: brownies, cupcakes, cookies, pie squares, all kinds of different bars, and chocolate confections. We love doing custom work, especially the decorated sugar cookies, which are quickly becoming what we’re known for. (The sugar cookie orders are the ones I always hoard for myself – I love the artistic aspect.)

I also teach decorated sugar cookie classes at least once a month, and it’s one of my favorite parts of the business. The classes are listed on our curbside site at www.getsugarbot.com/classes.

For Little O’s /The Creamery: We started making our ice cream in-house in 2018 after we bought Little O’s. We love the ability to experiment and create new flavors and play with the textures and inclusions that are possible.

My grandpa had a pharmacy with a soda fountain in it in my hometown of Hermann, MO (it was called Berlener Pharmacy), and I was so excited when Little O’s came up for sale because I always wished that it had been historically accurate when we’d pass it by after we moved to St. Charles.

Having the opportunity to make that change and bring the correct history to the space is one of the things we are the proudest of with the business. Between that and being the only place in St. Charles that is actually making their ice cream on-site in small batches and using high-quality ingredients as the mix-ins, we believe there isn’t anything with the same quality and care anywhere else in the county.

Our most popular items at Little O’s are the Gooey Butter Cake & Gooey Cake Shake. We make the Gooey Butter Cake using one of the original Gooey Butter recipes, which happens to be from Mark’s great uncle Otto’s bakery, which was in Union, MO called City Bakery.

It’s made with a yeasted crust and a corn syrup top. We’re the only place in the greater STL area that still does a true, traditional Gooey Butter Cake. We serve it by the slice and blend it into shakes at the shop. Typically, we offer the Original/vanilla slice and one specialty option each weekend.

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
This is a tricky one too! I think there are a lot of changes underway that has been a long time coming. COVID shook things up for sure.

The biggest change I’d like to see is how people in the food industry get treated – both by their employers and by their clients. The folks working to feed everyone are magical humans, and I don’t think we get enough credit for all the hard work we do. I’d also love to see folks place a higher value on our work, and see more employers place a higher value on taking care of their staff’s basic needs.

We should be there by now, and it’s a bummer that we aren’t. That’s my big focus right now: finding all the ways we can to appreciate and support folks.

Pricing:

  • Most items at the bakery are around the $3-5/serving range
  • Items at the soda shop are anywhere from $3-12 usually, some of the specialty items like the Gooey Butter Shake or whole Gooey cakes can be more
  • Decorated sugar cookie classes start at $45/person

Contact Info:

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