Home News LA bakeshop Sweet Lady Jane among dozens to close its doors for good

LA bakeshop Sweet Lady Jane among dozens to close its doors for good

by Celia

In a recent wave of closures affecting Southern California, renowned establishments like Sweet Lady Jane Bakery have permanently shut their doors. Founded by Jane Lockhart in 1988, the once-thriving bakery, with six locations, closed on New Year’s Eve. The closure, seemingly abrupt, follows an announcement of a renovation in Encino just two weeks prior, leaving cakes still on display at the Beverly Hills store.

Sweet Lady Jane’s closure was attributed to the challenging economic landscape in California, with the store stating, “While the support and loyalty of our customers has been strong, sales are not enough to continue doing business in the state of California.” This announcement has left customers like Evan Cowitt expressing their shock and sadness.

Cowitt, a loyal customer, lamented, “Let me tell you there is sadness in my heart. There have been birthdays, there have been weddings where you knew if it was a Sweet Lady Jane Cake that you wanted to be there.”

Sweet Lady Jane is not alone in this economic downturn. Other businesses, such as IHop on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, closed on January 1, and Marco’s Italian Restaurant in the same area also recently shut down. West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Genevieve Morrill revealed that over 85 businesses closed in the past year, attributing it to a combination of factors.

Morrill explained, “I think it’s a perfect storm of everything happening all at once. We had a pandemic that lasted a long time, there’s a lot of back-rent to pay back and loans. A 30% increase in goods and services, there’s the highest inflation we’ve had in a long time.”

Compounding the challenges, the city of West Hollywood implemented the highest minimum wage in the country last July, setting it at $19.08 per hour. Morrill expressed concern about the city becoming one of the most expensive places to shop, dine, and play.

“I think we are very, very concerned that we are going to be one of the most expensive cities to shop, dine, and play in,” Morrill said. “What we have to do is find a balance, how do we focus on helping those that are underserved but at the same time sustaining business so that we can help those that are underserved.”

Evan Cowitt, reflecting on Sweet Lady Jane’s closure, expressed a willingness to pay higher prices to sustain the bakery. “Had they asked, I would have said yes. I would have paid more for cake in order for a living wage to be paid to the people who are making those cakes.”

Unfortunately, the bakery’s closure has left its employees jobless, marking a poignant end to a business that had been a staple since its establishment in 1988.

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