Michele Howard believes a Kickstarter campaign will be a success
Michele Howard is dreaming big.
After almost three years of providing yummy cookies, cupcakes and an assortment of other confections to Sherwood residents, shes ready to move down the road.
Into the old Lavender Teahouse to be exact.
We really, really need a bigger space, said Howard, who has run Sweet Story for several years. It really has to happen. Its the only option.
To make that dream come true, Howard and her husband Daron launched a Kickstarter campaign on Feb. 6.
(Kickstarter is the crowdfunding platform that allows those with creative ambitions to reach their goals with supporters pledging money to help them achieve those dreams. In Howards case, the goal is to raise $27,500 in less than a month.
And Howard has gone full-bore in her efforts to move from her 550-square-foot shop on Railroad Avenue to about 1,800 square feet in the spacious former teahouse, hiring a film crew to make her plea in a big way.
We spent 12 hours last Monday filming, said Howard. They showed up at 6:15 Monday morning and left at 6:30 at night.
The video includes support from such local business and civic leaders.
Howard said those who help fund the move will be rewarded with Sweet Story goodies.
Howard previously applied for a Chase small business grant and although she didnt get the highly sought-after award, she didnt give up, noting that the most obvious prospects didnt look like they would work out either.
I dont have any relatives I can tap for quick funds, she joked. It just doesnt work (that way) anymore.
The entrepreneur got the Kickstarter.com idea after seeing how successful her husbands nephew was in his effort to launch a smartphone app for creating a video game.
Most Sherwood residents are familiar with the location of the former Lavender Tea House, which is a white Victorian home with purple trim on First Street in Old Town Sherwood. After 18 years in business, the iconic business shut down in July 2012.
The tea house in Old Town has been empty for quite some time now, and a lot of residents have been looking forward to seeing this special place opened back up so the community can enjoy it, said Amber Gardner, of Gardner Team Real Estate and a friend of Howards. So many times people have mentioned how great it would be if this place would become SweetStory.
Since opening, Howard has been finding one success after another. For the last year, she has been providing banana bread, raspberry scones and monster cookies to Dutch Bros. Coffee kiosks in Sherwood, Tigard, Newberg and Lacey, Wash. During an interview last August, Howard estimated that Sweet Story was delivering about 700 items a week to the kiosks.
In addition, she creates cookies and cakes for a variety of special events and creates the tiramisu dessert for Da Mimmo Italian restaurant, just a few doors down from her Sherwood business.
Although Sweet Story Bakery is her first venture into the retail baking world, Howard has been whipping up sweets at her Sherwood home for years. Today, her personal treat favorite is the Kit Kat Bar, a concoction made of chocolate, caramel, peanut butter, butterscotch and a layer of wafers drizzled with white chocolate.
Although Howard knows she must raise the entire $27,500 – money that will go to renovation and remodeling efforts -- in a short period of time, shes optimistic.
One of the first things she plans on doing is change the exterior color scheme and revitalize a business that has been vacant too long.
Its really time for that house to have some love, said Howard. It really has to happen. Its the only option.
If all goes as planned, Sweet Story Bakery will make the move in March and open in April.