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The Daily Tar Heel

What happened to the couples with open wedding cake orders when Sugarland closed?

sugarland update
Franklin Street bakery Sugarland closed in October and left a couple cakeless for their wedding. In honor of Valentine's Day, The Daily Tar Heel caught up with the couple to see how the wedding went. February 12, 2019.

When Sugarland, a bakery on Franklin Street, closed in October 2018, it left some couples scrambling for short-notice solutions for their wedding cakes. Months later, these couples have found a mix of happy solutions and unresolved complaints.

Ben Davis was one of those people. Davis said he and his then-fiancee put down a $150 deposit with Sugarland for a lemon wedding cake for their October 2018 wedding, only to find out that the bakery had closed all of its locations without a word from the bakery itself. Not having the deposit limited their budget, he said, and as a result, the couple had to find a new baker on short notice. 

“Just to keep from going over our budget, we ended up going to Publix in Wake Forest, and they had a fantastic lemon cake,” Davis said. “We were very happy with the service at Publix. I’d recommend it to anybody, and I have recommended it to other couples that were planning their own weddings.”

While getting a new cake was a quick fix, resolving his issues with Sugarland and its former owner, Katrina Ryan, has not been a piece of cake. Davis said he still has not been refunded his $150 deposit, and it has been extremely difficult to get any sort of consistent communication with Sugarland’s former ownership.

“(Ryan) wouldn’t even answer my emails until I called her out on Facebook, and then she answered my emails, she strung me along, she wouldn’t ever set up a call for me,” Davis said. “I try and set up a time, total radio silence. So we never heard anything.”

Ryan told ABC 11 in October 2018 that the bakery was forced to close due to medical issues in her family, as well as damage caused from flooding by hurricanes Matthew and Florence that was difficult to recover from. The Daily Tar Heel reached out to Ryan for comment, but she did not respond.

Eventually, Davis said he and his fiancee received a claims form from a lawyer representing Sugarland during the couple’s honeymoon, which they faxed in after the honeymoon. Around the same time, on on Oct. 17, 2018, Sugarland filed for bankruptcy. Since then, Davis said he has not heard a word from anyone representing Sugarland.

“As of right now, Sugarland and the owner of Sugarland, they’ve made no attempts to make this right,” he said.

Other Triangle-area bakeries responded to the situation with offers to help couples affected by the Sugarland closing, including Capital Cakes of Durham. Owner Katelyn Johnson said she has noticed an increase in business so far this year, although no one has told her specifically that they took their business to her directly because of Sugarland’s closure.

“I already have 40 weddings booked for this year, but I did 50 last year, and it’s February,” Johnson said.

At this time, Davis said he still has no idea when or if his claim against Sugarland will be resolved, or if he will get his money back. He said he has been left disappointed and confused by his entire experience with the now-shuttered bakery.

“I would not recommend anyone work with the owner of Sugarland ever again. It’s such a shame, they had everything going for them,” he said. “They had two locations, an established business, and they just kind of let it all go.”

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