Video: Sweet Life Patisserie

It’s A Sweet Life After All

The smell of freshly baked pastries and delicious desserts hits you like a brick as soon as you walk into Sweet Life Patisserie located in the downtown area of Eugene, Oregon.  This relatively new business has only been operating for the last 20 years, but it has grown and flourished into a very profitable, lively, and successful bakery. Sweet Life specializes in delectably sweet goods including; wedding and birthday cakes, pies and tarts, cupcakes, morning pastries, petit sweets, ice cream, coffee, and tea.

Sweet Life Patisserie had an interesting start to their business. In 1993, Cheryl Reinhart and her sister Catherine started operating their dessert business out of their garage.[1] They converted “their one-car garage into a bakery twenty years ago”.[2] At first, they specialized in “making wedding cakes for customers” and “selling cakes to restaurants”.[3] They baked, washed dishes, and cooked all of the baked goods themselves while using family recipes and creating new ones; with one mixer, one oven, and one fridge, they grew their bakery business.[4] After operating their business from their home for six years, they “decided to expand into a retail space” because they “could have cases full of spectacular desserts” which is something that their home business couldn’t offer, so they bought the building on Monroe Street in 1999 and started a retail bakery.[5] In 2004, due to the growing popularity of their bakery, the sisters decided that they had outgrown the retail building and needed a separate building for baking. Before this decision, all of the desserts and pastries were baked in the same building as the café, but with a growing business they needed to expand and have the bakery at a secondary location. Luckily, they “found a place right across the street that the owner was willing to sell” and so they moved the cooking part of their business operation into the newly remolded baking facility. Afterwards, they remodeled the café to appeal to the growing size of customers.[6]

One thing that is truly unique about Sweet Life is that all of their desserts are handmade from scratch. The sisters use traditional French, American, and personal cooking techniques when making the desserts.[7] They select the highest quality of available ingredients, rather than using cheaper foods that might contain GMO’s or pre-processed ingredients. They don’t use any added or artificial ingredients when preparing their dishes. Also, Sweet Life tries to maintain as an earth-friendly business; fifty percent of the ingredients they use are organic, sustainability farmed, or wild-harvested farmed ingredients with thirty percent of them being truly organic. Also, thirty percent of their product is grown in the Northwest. One hundred percent is non-GMO-sourced, rBGH-dairy free, and trans-fat and hydrogenated-fat-free. They also have one hundred percent fair-trade organic coffee, vanilla, and one hundred percent organic teas.  Their wares are one hundred percent compostable and they compost and recycle all unused products. They use solar panels to power their business; which provides them with ten percent of their electricity usage. They use one hundred percent recyclable paper for various paper supplies and products like; coffee, brochures, and business cards. In addition to their unique take on maintaining sustainability, Sweet Life also offers alternative diet choices. They make desserts that exclude dairy, gluten, eggs, animal products, and sugar; however, they don’t guarantee the accurateness of the desserts that aren’t suppose to contain these items because they are prepared in the same space as other desserts and cannot to guaranteed totally “free”. They also use alternative sweeteners that can be made with certain desserts for people who have special dietary needs that require less sugar.[8]

            The Register Guard, Eugene’s premier newspaper, awarded Sweet Life first place for best dessert in their 2014 Register-Guard Readers’ Choice Awards.[9] According to The Daily Emerald, Eugene’s leasing student-run newspaper, Sweet Life will “satisfy your sweet tooth” and is “a uniquely Eugene experience with a little class”.[10] In 2012, in The Daily Emerald’s “Best of Campus” edition, which is voted on by the students of the University of Oregon, the newspaper named Sweet Life as “best dessert” for the year.[11] In the 2012 article “Getting Married in Eugene” by Meg Hemphill featured on ORbride.com, they named Sweet Life as the best place to go for wedding cakes.[12] In 2008, Viamagazine.com included Sweet Life in their “Best Neighborhood Bakeries” article as one of the best neighborhood bakeries that can be found in Oregon.[13] There are a variety of articles about patisseries, but these show that Sweet Life is still popular today, that people still flock to this unique café for delicious sweets, and that it continues to grow and get recognized in newspapers and magazines.

Today, Sweet Life is an enticing and popular place to go get pastries for breakfast or lunch, cakes for birthdays or weddings, and ice cream, as well as other satisfying sweets. This café also offers a wide variety of alternative desserts for those who have special dietary needs. The “bright and bustling atmosphere” attracts customers of all ages. On weekend nights you can find Sweet Life stuffed with customers standing shoulder-to-shoulder waiting for their turn to order dessert. On those nights “everyone is packed into this line and everyone is looking at the sweets”; some can even be seen “asking someone they don’t even know behind them what’s their favorite” and that’s unique because “you have to cram in, there’s not that much space” so you would except people to be grump because they have to be stuffed into such a tiny space, but they don’t mind.[14] These two sisters who “watched their business grow to become one of the most loved bakeries in Eugene”, this experience and business “has truly been a sweet journey that continues” because, who doesn’t love a Sweet Life?[15]


[1] http://www.sweetlifedesserts.com/about

[2] Interview with Cheryl Reinhart

[3] Interview with Cheryl Reinhart

[4] 20th Anniversary Video: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1FkJJN4EB3ITnBCaGQ5RjlQQzg/edit?pli=1

[5] Interview with Cheryl Reinhart

[6] Interview with Cheryl Reinhart

[7] http://www.sweetlifedesserts.com/about

[8] http://www.sweetlifedesserts.com/sustainability

[9] http://readerschoice.registerguard.com

[10] http://dailyemerald.com/2012/05/24/sweet-life-patisserie-will-satisfy-your-sweet-tooth/

[11] http://dailyemerald.com/2012/05/15/best-dessert-sweet-life-patisserie/

[12] http://orbridemag.com/reception-sites/getting-married-eugene

[13] http://www.viamagazine.com/food-wine/neighborhood-bakeries

[14] Interview with Aaron Sullivan, a employee of Sweet Life Patisserie

[15] 20th Anniversary Video: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B1FkJJN4EB3ITnBCaGQ5RjlQQzg/edit?pli=1

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