By Evan J. Pretzer
Hannah Steege is a mom, entrepreneur, and someone who works hard for what she wants. Her bakery opening up a storefront in Wausau after more than a decade of activity showcases that dedication.
Since December, the Sugar ‘n Spice Cheesecakes LLC has been up and running at the former Frostman Fish Market on the city’s west side. Steege grew up being passionate about baking and had her first job in the space as a teenager. While Sugar ‘n Spice first offered items to customers in 2011, work of a tougher sort came up. It was only with luck Steege got to continue later.
“God works differently and his timing is funny,” she says. “The day I got the keys for [a place we could not get our hood system into] I found out I was pregnant with my first. That is the reason it took so long, when you are a mom it is a full-time job. When you have a child you do not have a choice. Later, we found out our very old house in Wausau had availability and the basement was large enough for a licensed commercial kitchen. We opened in 2014 and around this time I had three kids in four years while we continued to grow out of that kitchen space.”
With the need for more space in mind, Steege and her husband began to look again. Then COVID intervened.
“When everyone was out of diapers, we began searching for a storefront, but this was at the start of March 2020,” Steege adds. “So we had to put everything on the backburner again. I realized I could still bake and carefully and graciously say I was able to continue growing in 2020 and 2021. People did not stop wanting treats and we did really well with pre-ordering off the porch.”
Sugar and Spice: coming out of COVID
While the majority of weddings and wholesale business were on hold, Steege says her ability to pivot is partly what keeps her and her employees going. In times when there are issues with a certain ingredient, they have shifted to making more cookies. Equipment like the walk-in cooler has also been saved while other things have been replaced, and, those who visit have high praise.
“We had the best time checking out this cute little place!” Plover’s Bobbie Churkey writes in a February post on the store’s Facebook page. “The boys loved it and we will definitely be back.”
Steege envisions making some changes in the future, but cannot say what they will be yet as she jokes she has issues with commitment. For now, she is living in the moment and is glad Wausau is an awesome place to do business and those wanting to visit the facility at 108 S. 2nd Ave. can from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. They are open from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturdays while being closed on Sundays and Mondays, too. Evan J. Pretzer is a contributor to City Pages. He can be reached at [email protected].