December will be a bittersweet month for Butterfly Bake Shoppe owner Dawn Schwanke, who plans to close the popular Berkley bakery so she can spend more time with her family.
Butterfly Bake Shoppe's last day in operation will be Dec. 22 and Schwanke, a Berkley resident and mother of five, said her business plans in the new year remain up in the air.
"The straw that broke the camel's back is the day both girls were home sick and I had to leave them home alone," Schwanke said of her daughters who are 9 and 12. She also has three sons, a 14-year-old and a 22-year-old who live at home, and a 24-year-old who lives in New York.
The 2012 Readers' Choice award-winner, formerly known as Ballcap Bakery, , as a family affair, with Schwanke's mom helping her prepare and her daughter hoping to take over the business one day.
"(Closing has) been a really, really rough decision," said Schwanke, who routinely works 80 hours a week. "I don't think I've stopped crying for the last two weeks."
Fans of the bakery also were emotional after Schwanke announced her plans on Facebook, leaving dozens of comments, including the following, on Butterfly Bake Shoppe's page.
- Melanie King Jackson: Dawn, you are an amazing mother, wife, friend and bakery owner! Of course we will miss all of your sweet treats, but understand that this time with your kids is something that you can never get back. Enjoy it now. We look forward to sharing with you in the joys with next adventure. We love you all so much!
- Sallie Giles Justice: Dawn I am guessing it was a grueling decision but for what it is worth we respect you even more for making it. I know you put a 110 percent into your wonderful shop and you created a great success. Berkley will be there for you when the time is right. Your kids will look back on this years from now and be in awe of what a dedicated, loving Momma you are. Love you!
- Leslie Hopp Wills: We will miss you. By far the best cakes I have ever had.
- Jess Downey: Dawn, I am so sad to see the bakery close as I know you poured your heart and soul into everything you did there however I am happy for you to get some "me" time back and enjoy being a Mom to your wonderful kiddos. Sending hugs your way!
Besides leaving a void in the lives of sweet tooths, the bakery's closure will mean the loss of another prominent Coolidge Highway business. The Berkley Bistro & Cafe building remains vacant after the restaurant closed in 2011 and the site of a former Taco Bell sits empty after plans to turn it into a deli failed earlier this year.
Nonetheless, Maureen Popkin, who spearheaded the Coolidge Collection, a group of businesses that have united to promote the corridor's shopping district, is supportive of Schwanke.
"We are all very sorry to see BBS close its doors but as a small business myself and mother of two, I know how challenging it is to find that perfect balance between work and family," said Popkin, who owns June Moon Furniture. "I believe Dawn is making the best choice for her family and wish her all the very best."
Schwanke said she will maintain the bakery's Facebook page after the shop closes to keep her customers apprised of her plans.
"I don't know if I'll go to another bakery or if I'll work out of my house. Everything is up in the air for the next five weeks," she said. "I can always start another bakery, but if I mess up with these kids (I can't get that time back)."
- PHOTOS: Paczki Day at Butterfly Bake Shoppe
- Berkley Baker Designs Motown Singer's Cake After Classic Tune