Many people nearing retirement age slow down in preparation to enjoy their retirement. But for SharRon Aaron and Shirley Sembritzky, co-owners of Treat! Cupcakes, starting a business six years ago was a necessity.
The two friends left Champions Golf Club after nearly 40 years of service. Aaron was no longer able to perform her job as manager of the dining room—a position she held for 37 years—after losing part of her hearing as a result of cancer treatments. Meanwhile Sembritzky said it was time to let someone younger take her place.
However neither woman was ready for retirement, so Aaron and Sembritzky opted to open their own business instead.
“We’d been in the food business all our lives so we felt like we knew what people wanted,” Sembritzky said. “You are never too old or too sick [to work] if you need an income and we did.”
Even though their friends thought they had lost their minds, Aaron and Sembritzky said, the two pushed on with the business. The planning phase took more than a year, but the two longtime friends opened Treat! Cupcakes in March 2010 in an 800-square-foot space in Vintage Park.
The original location was so small employees were forced to carry cupcake pans over their heads and dishes had to be washed and dried at the same time because there was no place to put anything.
“At this time in 2009, [The] Vintage was looking pretty gloomy,” Sembritzky said. “As soon as a business would open it would close within a year, which was depressing, but we kept going.”
Despite turnover in the shopping center the business thrived. The owners moved Treat! two doors down in 2012, more than doubling its size.
In addition to cupcakes, the store also carries dog treats, sugar cookies, hand-fried pies and gingerbread treats around Christmas. Everything is made fresh from scratch with no cake mixes, fillers or additives included in the baking process. Treat! also carries gluten- and sugar-free cupcakes.
Sembritzky said the owners credit much of the shop’s success to their many friends in the Champions area.
“We did not have money to advertise, so word of mouth brought us through,” Sembritzky said.
The owners give back to the community by donating leftover cupcakes every night to Child Protective Services, hospitals, fire departments, homeless shelters and other charities.