CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on many local businesses. Many have shut down for good; others are teetering on the edge of survival.
Sugar Sugar Bakery on Staples has been open for a month. It opened during the pandemic after the owner, Mallory Torres, had spent the last nine years decorating cakes and making delicious baked goods out of her house.
She finally took the leap and opened up her storefront in the strangest time imaginable.
"It felt kind of like I was dreaming; it didn't feel real at first," Torres said.
The opening of her new store was met with some skepticism.
"There was the whole, well, you know, 'It might be slow,' and, you know, 'coronavirus this' and 'coronavirus that,' " Torres said. "But I didn't listen to any of that."
It is a good thing. Torres said she has gotten busier during COVID-19, something rare during the pandemic.
"Not as many people were traveling for birthdays, so they wanted to stay home," she said. "Birthdays never stop."
Torres has a massive staff to help her follow her dream. For the employees, it is a way to make ends meet during the crisis.
"Whenever she decided to open a storefront, she offered me a job and I took it right away," said cake decorator Jolene Rios.
The hard work and the drive displayed by Torres has left her staff inspired.
"It makes me want to open my own business one day," said Mary Douglas.
The opening of the store is a long time coming. It is filled with an aroma of icing, cookies and cakes baking. In the back, Torres is hard at work decorating one of the most beautiful cakes you will see.
She said community support has helped her move forward, and stood behind her the entire way.
"That's the one thing that got us here is the fact that we are a small business and they wanted to show support," Torres said.
The store is thriving. The rest is icing on the cake.