A Grantsville couple has spun sugar-coated dreams into what they hope will be a sweet success. Southern Girl Sweets, located in Suite G of East Gate Plaza in Grantsville, opened earlier this month by Lorie and Jay Carney in a push to fulfill a lifelong dream.
“It was just something I enjoyed. I was always the person who, when there was ever a family gathering or a party or something, it was just assumed that I’d bring the treats,” said Lorie, who had previously worked as a nurse for 15 years.
“I’d always joke that I’d have a bake shop — like, I’d make something and I’d say, ‘When I have a bake shop I’m going to sell this’ — but no one ever took me seriously, because I guess I wasn’t serious,” she added.
Eight months ago, Jay started encouraging Lorie to go through with those dreams and make them a reality.
“I told her, ‘I’d rather do it now and fail than be 60 and wonder what if,’” he said.
The couple started looking at the possibilities of how to open a bake shop. Some requirements to run it out of the Carney’s home kitchen soon proved to be unrealistic. After putting pencil to paper the couple determined a year’s rent would be more affordable than building a shop in their backyard. That year of rent would also give them a better idea of whether their dream was feasible as a business, said Jay.
The Carneys, both 41, met and married in Florida and moved to Utah in 2008 and then to Grantsville in 2010. They have largely funded the project on their own with a combination of savings, revenue from selling a camper and some dirt bikes, as well as a small loan from a family member. Jay said funding the business mostly themselves has allowed them to set prices lower than if they had a large loan to worry about. Lorie said they felt self-funding was especially wise given the economic climate.
“With the economy, we wanted to be smart — we didn’t want to lose our cars and our house if we failed,” she said. “This has been my dream, not ours as a family, not my kids’ dream.”
Still, she said, their children have been involved. Their 12- year-old son, Nathaniel Fargey, enjoys talking to customers, but it is 11-year-old Sarah Fargey who has the most zeal in the kitchen. Lorie, a Savanna native who grew up in Florida, said Sarah was raised in the kitchen, just like she was and her mother and grandmother before her.
“[Sarah’s] been in the kitchen with me since she was, like, 3, but that’s the way I grew up — it’s the Southern way to learn from your mother and grandmothers in the kitchen,” Lorie said. “It’s kind of fun to see it pass on.”
Lorie does all of the baking, but Sarah, who has gotten a food handler’s permit and takes notes while watching shows on the Food Network, helps out. Lorie noted family support has been helpful because with a new business comes the unavoidable task of finding the right routine.
Lorie said she comes in at 7 a.m. to make the day’s fare before the shop opens two hours later, and is usually there until 7 p.m. Although there have been several late nights, the hours have gotten better, leaving her more time to focus on the part of baking she loves most — the reaction. “It makes me happy to make everybody else happy,” she said. “When you make a meal, dessert seems to be everybody’s favorite.”
As it happens, Southern Girl Sweets’ new home is next door to Weight Watchers. Lorie, a member of Weight Watchers, said they did not notice the juxtaposition at first, but have tried to work with, not fight against it. On meeting days, she bakes low-point muffins for a sweet but healthier treat.
Southern Girl Sweets is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The store is closed Sunday and Monday. Prices range from $1 for coffee or a cookie to $20 for a dozen brownies or bar cookies. Custom cakes are also available.