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Sweets sorrow: Lola’s to close bakery Nov. 23

Lola Cookies & Treats owner Lorraine “Lola” Hooper puts vanilla buttercream frosting on chocolate cupcakes in November 2012 at her Leesburg shop. The bakery Hooper started seven years ago will close Nov. 23. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Beverly Denny
'Such sweet sorrow' read the headline in a recent email Loraine Hooper sent to patrons of Lola's, her bakery on South King Street in downtown Leesburg, after she decided to close.

"Parting is such sweet sorrow" is what Juliet whispers to Romeo in the waning moments of the second scene of Act II of “Romeo and Juliet.”

The sweetness is thinking about the next time she might see Romeo. The fact that it may be awhile is the sorrow.

For Hooper, the bakery she started seven years ago will unfortunately not be seeing patrons after Nov. 23.

After more than five years of baking, Hooper decided to open her own shop in 2006 dedicated primarily to cupcakes and cookies.

Even through the recession and cupcake craze that took over America spawned competitors, Hooper says "Every year was better than the one before."

She explained that even though people cut back on some things in their budget they would always appreciate a cupcake.

She was doing well, but the businesses location was a constant concern.

"Our main issue is this space is challenging," said Hooper. "We found that relocating is more difficult than we thought it would be."

The location is not easy to find and patrons must enter the store from the back.

Further compounding the issue of location is the space. Workers have to walk up to a second floor for boxes and to do other chores.

Hooper said competition over the years did increase, but so did the demand for cupcakes.

She said the only way to be successful in the business is to bring something original to customers, which she said applies to many other proprietors nearby.

"[Lola's] faces a similar challenge that many local downtown businesses have. We can't compete with Target, but we shouldn't have to," said Hooper.

Ultimately Hooper didn't feel she could move forward with expansion of the current facility or move to a new one, so she decided to close.

"It needs to go to the next step, and I don't have the resources or time to take it to the next level," she said.

As they did when the businesses opened, Lola's employees will be giving away free cookies on their last day, Nov. 23.


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