RYAN STROTHER & CAROLINE GAENZLE
News Editor & Assistant Opinion Editor
There’s a new bakery in town. Serving birthday cakes, confections, seasonal pumpkin and apple treats, Sunshine Sweets has been a fan favorite of Denison Faculty and Granville Residents, and most recently, has caught on with Denison students as well. Sunshine Sweets offers everything you’d expect to find in a bakery, like donuts and muffins, plus market goods like cheeses, meats, and snacks that are easy to take to go.
Susan Van Ness, the founder of the shop, has baked her whole life, but her hobby began to turn into a profession about three years ago. “I’ve been baking since I was a kid. I baked for churches, and made cookies for art shows, and then three years ago I started baking brownies and Rice Krispie treats for Troyer’s Marketplace and some businesses in Johnstown.”
Eventually, Van Ness’ passion and ability for confecting sweets outgrew the size of her kitchen. “I began baking cakes, lots of cakes, and I’m like, ‘you know, I’ve got to get my own place.’”
At that time, Van Ness’ husband, Brian Van Ness, worked at the Buxton Inn. One night, they were picking up a pizza from Elm’s Pizza Parlor, and noticed one of the adjacent shops was up for rent.
“We just felt like it was a perfect little spot for a sweet shop. Granville is so quaint. We love it, and eventually want to move here.”
On April 1st, 2016, Sunshine Sweets officially opened thier 119 East Elm Street store. Business boomed for the new bake shop, in part due to patronization from Denison faculty appreciative of the hand-made treats.
“It was an amazing April and May because the faculty [at Denison] knew about us, for cakes for promotions and stuff like that. And then we got a lot of graduation cakes and the publicity from the papers they put us in all three papers, the lines were out the door.”
As with many Granville businesses, Denison’s summer break and Granville resident’s summer vacations made business a little tough for the startup.
“It was a rough summer for a new business,” Van Ness said. But, Van Ness says now that Denison is back in session, and more people know about their business, she’s able adapt to the ebbs and flows of business in Granville. Now, she’s able to laugh a little bit about slower business and different summer preferences for consumers.
“I think people want more ice cream in the summer, and people are watching their figure more.”
Denison students have begun to rave about the cake pops at Sunshine Sweets. Maggie Miller ‘20, reported to the Denisonian that she ate a chocolate cake pop and said that “they are to die for, I couldn’t believe how moist they were.”
Sunshine Sweets also provides a way for parents of first-year students to send something sweet for their kids first birthday away from home. Leah Miller ‘20, returned from a frisbee tournament, surprised to find a birthday present waiting for her in Shorney Hall. Balloons a hand-baked birthday cake. “I loved the balloons but the cake was amazing,” she said.
If you’re enticed by the idea of something sweet, delicious, and local but can’t make it down to Elm Street, fret not. Susan delivers. “I’ll deliver up there [to Denison] to everyone, if they give me a $20 order.”
Photo Courtesy of Caroline Gaenzle/The Denisonian