Published: Aug 10, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Aug 08, 2011 06:54 PM
CHAPEL HILL - A nationally known dessert cafe may have to find a new location outside of downtown Chapel Hill.
Due to a lack of refrigerator space and parking, Sugarland is considering moving to a new location.
"I love my space. It was really important to us when we opened this space to be on the 100 block of East Franklin," said Katrina Ryan, owner of Sugarland.
But the store is doing so well that it has outgrown its space there, she said.
Currently there are only two refrigerators and one freezer in Sugarland in which to store the delicious goodies and all the ingredients required to make everything from scratch.
Ryan rents refrigerator space from University Florist in order to store cakes, but that isn't a long-term solution, she said.
"We make about 70,000 cupcakes, 1,300 birthday cakes and 200 wedding cakes a year," Ryan said. "I just have to have more space."
Ryan tried to rent additional space or add a walk-in freezer on the back of their current location to try to prevent a move, but she was denied.
Sugarland's current location's expansion opportunites are between little and none, said Gordon Merklein, executive director of real estate at UNC, which owns the building.
The area behind Sugarland has a very small parking and service area, which makes the possibilities of expanding very limited, according to Merklein.
"The building is what it is, and it cannot be added on to or expanded," Merklein said. "This is a wonderful business, and we have worked with them in every way we can. Like all businesses, there may come a point in time where that location may no longer be able to serve them."
Ryan's lease expires at the end of October 2012, but if the perfect location becomes available she would consider leaving earlier, she said.
The most natural location to move to would be the 140 West Franklin Street mixed-use building now under construction in Chapel Hill, Ryan said.
But she is also looking at Cameron Village in Raleigh.
"We are really nervous about moving because re-creating this someplace else isn't necessarily going to work," Ryan said. "But I've got 23 employees, all of whom count on me to make a living and to grow my business the way that I need to."
Carley Brown, 20, has worked at Sugarland since May. She's enjoyed working at Sugarland because she gets to talk to different people every day.
"I really like it here," Brown said. "I like Sugarland's location because it is right in the middle of town where my friends can stop in and visit."
If Sugarland were to move to Raleigh, Brown would have to find another job in Chapel Hill because of the commute, she said.
Sugarland has been featured on the Food Network, Good Morning America, the Today Show, MTV and The Martha Stewart Show.
Its specialties include custom cakes, gelato, cupcakes and other pastries.