Local Business

Small Business Week: Sweet Life Patisserie, Eugene, OR

Written by Shannon Toliver

Happy National Small Business Week! This is a time to celebrate local businesses and their contributions to our neighborhoods and economy. In honor of this week, Nextdoor will be highlighting Neighborhood Favorites each day to kick off our new local business series. Check out our blog between May 6th and May 10th to see what locals are loving around the country.

Here’s something sweet to end your week! Sisters Cheryl and Catherine Reinhart began Sweet Life Patisserie out of their converted-garage-bakery back in 1993. Thanks to their initial success, they were able to move into a pastry shop before the new millennium, then quickly into a custom-built café. Still located on the same street in Eugene, OR, the sisters spend their time dreaming up delicious desserts and building up their business behind the scenes.

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Today, the display cases feature traditional French and American recipes such as cakes, pies, tarts, ice cream, and savory pastries. Whenever possible, they use ingredients that are 100% trans-fat free, fair-trade, organic, and locally grown. Their sustainability initiatives even awarded them an award for “Sustainable Innovation in Business” in 2011.

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We spoke with long-time employee, Q, about her experience working at Sweet Life.

50 Nextdoor neighborhoods voted Sweet Life Patisserie a Neighborhood Favorite! How does it feel to be an important part of your community?

“We are thrilled to be considered a Neighborhood Favorite! We feel like we are in excellent company, and we’re surrounded by wonderful places like Prince Puckler’s, Beppe & Gianni’s, Oolong Bar, McMenamins, and more! We opened quite literally with a bang (a car crashed into our front door!) and we haven’t looked back. We’re loving the new digs, and our new neighbors.”

How is Sweet Life Patisserie incorporated into the Eugene community?

“We’ve done lots of “Dessert Dashes” with organizations like the Pearl Buck Center, Children’s Miracle Network, Relay for Life, and many other foundations. We donate to so many local non-profit organizations it’s hard to list them all. We’ve participated in many of the Chefs’ Night Out fundraisers, and we donate day-old pastries to several local places like Womenspace, Looking Glass, and ShelterCare. I’m always amazed at how willing Catherine & Cheryl are to join a cause and help out when they can. They truly care about giving back to the community.”

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According to Q, working alongside Cheryl and Catherine is the cherry on top. “As an employee for almost 19 years, I’ve been really lucky to see this business grow into a phenomenal success. Cheryl & Catherine love what they do. They love creating delicious treats, they love coming up with new ideas and recipes. They love being able to make changes in favor of the environment whenever they can. They pay their workers a fair wage, offer benefits and perks, treat them well, and genuinely care about their employees. It’s like a big family. I am so proud to be a part of this amazing success story – they have nurtured and supported me and my career, and have been amazing employers-turned-friends. (Honestly, they’re my family).”

Apparently life at the Patisserie truly is as sweet as it sounds!

What are your favorite local businesses? Show them some love this week by recommending them to your neighbors on Nextdoor, or leaving a comment below.

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