Monday, Nov 12, 2018
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Indulge your sweet tooth

Cheesecake Heaven opens brick and mortar retail location

Jameel Lightbourn’s end goal was always to have a brick and mortar retail location for Cheesecake Heaven. A little over a year ago, he began making steps to make that dream a reality. And now in this New Year, with the month of love approaching, Lightbourn will be serving up his much sought out cheesecake-stuffed red velvet cupcakes from a physical pastry shop. And as usual, these much-loved two-bite morsels of decadent deliciousness will be available for one day only, Valentine’s Day.

Unlike the past, when cupcakes had to be ordered by the dozen, with a physical location, customers will also have the option of pulling up to Cheesecake Heaven and purchasing a single cupcake out of the showcase; or opting for the red velvet chunk heart-shaped cheesecake — items that will only be available on Wednesday, February 14.

The doors to Cheesecake Heaven, which is located west of McDonald’s on Madeira Street, directly opposite Andrew Aitken Photography, officially opened in August 2017, but Lightbourn is ecstatic to be in a physical space in time for Valentine’s Day.

“It was hard to believe,” he said of actually turning the key to the shop to open for his first day of business. “Even though you walk through the doors everyday, it’s still hard to believe you actually did it, because of the process that was involved — the headaches, the heartaches, the blood, sweat, and tears. It was really hard to believe.”

Lightbourn has gone from baking at home to baking in his shop. He was a home-based business for at least a decade.

It took him over a year to turn around the building from paying the initial deposit to occupation, owing to renovations.

The result is a space where he wants customers to enter and feel calm and at peace as they indulge their sweet tooth.

Lightbourn says the store’s color scheme and décor was based on the concept, which was the feeling of being in heaven.

“We went with the blues on the wall as our interpretation of the sky, and the white leather seats are our interpretation of the clouds.”

They also have a patio that can house small events like showers and children’s birthday parties.

When Lightbourn first started the business, he baked cheesecakes — and he did the most simple of flavors — strawberry, blueberry and pineapple. He sometimes dabbled with birthday cakes. But with a focus on his cheesecakes, he began experimenting, graduating to more exotic offerings like tamarind, and Bailey’s

“And when I started to experiment, then I did guava; and over the years I graduated to more exotic flavors like tamarind, Baileys, guinep, and soursop [guanabana].”

And with those cakes he dabbled in, he went from doing just the simple shaped cakes to doing just about anything out of cake, including 3D carved cakes.

Now that he’s opened his storefront, he says cheesecakes are again his big seller as people can now opt to purchase by the slice instead of a whole cake; the flavors in the showcase change daily.

“We have customers come in daily, just looking for something they never had before. Even though we do birthday cakes, people like variety, and they would rather get a slice of each flavor cheesecake than to get one single flavor in one cake, so they can get one flavor in each slice, put it together and make a whole cake.”

His tamarind cheesecake, key lime cheesecake and lemon meringue cheesecake, as well as the cheesecake stuffed red velvet cupcakes and chocolate cheesecake are top sellers.

As far as cake flavors, he said customers tend to gravitate towards the vanilla pound cake with cream cheese filling and marshmallow icing, as well as his guava cake.

While he’s been a go to for pastries over the years even while baking out of his home, since opening the doors to his pastry shop, he says his client base has broadened.

“Business has more than quadrupled. We find that 90 percent of the customers that walk through the doors now are new customers,” said Lightbourn.

Cheesecake Heaven is currently open 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

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