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Online Elgin bakery wins best new business award from chamber

Online Elgin bakery wins best new business award from chamber

When David and Juliet Srivisas were both laid off at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, their next path was unclear … until they saw entepreneur March Cuban on an episode of “Shark Tank.”

His words of wisdom: One of the things people in life will always want to do is eat well.

That was all the impetus they needed to start dreaming up what would become Elgin-based Liefde Bakery.

Liefde Bakery, based in Elgin, changes up its cheesecake options with the season. For the fall, they're doing a pumpkin spice cheesecake with toppings that include white chocolate ganache, maple and pecan, cranberry orange, dark chocolate, caramel and pretzels.

“I didn’t want to sit around and wait for what may occur,” David said. “It felt like a great time to take advantage of the fact everyone is going to be in their homes. If they can’t go out, they will make sure they will eat well.”

Juliet, a 2016 graduate of Elgin Community College’s culinary arts program, created the menu while David handled everything else.

“I’m the pretty face of the company, that’s what I tell everyone,” he joked.

The hard work of setting up a business that produces baked goods for direct and wholesale sales, catering and pop-up events paid off quickly — it was named the 2023 New Business of the Year by the Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce.

Liefde means love in Afrikaans so the business’ name literally translates to “love bakery.” An appropriate monikor given it’s a labor of love for the couple and their children, 11-year-old Darrien and 10-year-old Janae, who like to refer to themselves as the company’s CEOs, their dad said.

Liefde Bakery co-owner David Srivisas poses for a photo with his children, 11-year-old Darrien and 10-year-old Janae, and Northern Kane County Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Melissa Hernandez on the night Liefde was named the chamber's 2023 Business of the Year.

Liefde Bakery started selling its baked goods online during the pandemic and then progressed to pop-up events around the area, including Elgin’s Pride Parade, Juneteenth celebration and End of Summer Bash, and at the Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee, where last Christmas David dressed as the Grinch and posed for photos.

Desserts are the bakery’s mainstay, although Juliet has expanded the menu to include things like Chicago-style hot dogs, South African boerewors sausages and African meat pies.

“You have to keep expanding and making sure everything you do is at the highest standard,” David said.

Elgin-based Leife Bakery makes items with holiday themes, like these cupcakes and icing-covered strawberries sold for the Fourth of July.

The most popular item they sell is an Oreo cheesecake, said Juliet, who creates different flavors for each season. This fall, she’s making a pumpkin spice cheesecake with topping that include caramel, pretzels, white chocolate ganache, maple and pecan, cranberry orange and dark chocolate.

Liefde Bakery also plans to start selling its cheesecake and other food items from a new food truck. “Hopefully by summertime next year, it will be ready to go out and about,” he said. “It definitely means bigger and better things.”

The Srivisas, who joined the chamber of commerce earlier this year, said they were surprised to be honored with an award.

“We were speechless and obviously very grateful for the opportunity and recognition,” Juliet said. “We put our hearts and souls into it. This is our passion.”

Vern's Tavern in downtown Elgin has Liefde Bakery's mini-cheesecakes on its menu.

Liefde Bakery takes orders online and announces pop-ups on social media.

Other businesses and business leaders honored during the chamber’s awards event were:

  • Business of the Year: MO Bank;
  • Customer Service: Rosie O’Hare’s Public House;
  • Commitment to Community: Polynt Composites;
  • Leader of Distinction: Arlene De La Cruz.

Gloria Casas is a freelance reporter for The Courier-News.

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