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Kimmy Morgan bought the bakery in The Merk five years ago, but late last month, she changed the name from Kristi’s Custom Cakes to The Sugar Pearl Dessert Co.

“I wanted people to know we’re not just a cupcake shop,” said Morgan, 29. “We offer a ton of different things.”

The Sugar Pearl sells a variety of desserts other than cakes, including cheesecakes, cake pops, cookies, brownies and French macarons.

What hasn’t changed, though, is the thrill she said she feels from the support of her customers.

“I owe my dream job to my community,” Morgan said.

The first three years Morgan owned the business, Morgan focused primarily on cakes because that’s what customers wanted. Even after she started making other desserts, those orders were done only by request, she said.

Rebranding the bakery promotes the full menu of desserts offered, Morgan said.

Morgan said she chose the name The Sugar Pearl because it is whimsical, simple and recognizable.

Along with renaming the bakery, Morgan also created a new logo and got new business cards and signs. She said she used local businesses to print the new business cards and install the vinyl mural on the shop’s window.

“It’s nice to have something I feel is really mine,” she said. “I worked really hard for this for five years. It’s really beautiful and the way I want it to be.”

Morgan and the shop’s only other employee, Alex Baker, work together to make and take orders and serve customers. In past years, business slowed in January and February, but Morgan said the shop now is busy all year.

“When I bought it, I was absolutely terrified I wouldn’t get any business,” she said. “I’ve been shocked and overwhelmed at the support I’ve had since day one.”

Morgan was born and raised in Longview. After graduating high school, she attended the Northwest Culinary Institute in Vancouver. She worked some food service jobs in Oregon, including running the dietary department for a nursing facility for five years.

When she saw the bakery was for sale, Morgan was in Longview visiting her aunt.

“I said, ‘That would be a dream to own,’ “ she recalled. Her aunt told her to buy it, and when Morgan said she couldn’t afford it, her aunt said she would back her.

“I paid her back within the first two years,” Morgan said. “I couldn’t have done it without my Aunt Marie. ... I felt really lucky.”

Morgan said she loves the bakery’s location in The Merk, which is atthe corner of Broadway and Commerce Avenue in downtown Longview. While she hopes to add a second location in the next five years, she would stay in downtown Longview.

“I was born and raised here, so it’s big that people get to know me,” she said. “I’m really turning it into what I want.”

Bottom lines:

Five JCPenney stylists at Kelso’s Three Rivers Mall — Kim Copenhagen, Tiffany Porter, Amber Richardson, Jamie Brett and Vetu Williamson — recently received the company’s 2018 Champions Award. It honors the top 10% of the company’s salon professionals who earn the most business through hair, skin or nail services.

Last week’s issue didn’t include Brett and Williamson.

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