Growing up in the Heber Valley, Stefanie Richardson always had a sweet tooth. After all, she had spent a lot of time hanging around her grandpa’s donut shop, Wally’s Donuts, in Salt Lake City. “He was a hard worker, and he inspired me,” she says of her grandpa. (I’m sure anyone whose livelihood was making donuts all day would put stars in the eyes of a young child.)
As she got older, Stefanie continued to nurture her sweet tooth; taking up baking and experimenting with making different goodies to eat and to share. She never forgot about her grandpa’s donut shop, even long after he retired. Stefanie dreamed of opening up a shop like that of her own one day. She was still dreaming about it when Judy’s Donuts opened in Midway in 2019. That same year, in August — on her birthday — a friend delivered homemade chocolate roses to her, and she thought, “Nobody does this…let’s make this a thing!” Undeterred by missing the boat on her donut dreams, Stefanie saw an opportunity in those little chocolate roses and wanted to bring the art of treats and sweets to the valley in a unique fashion.
She asked her friend for the recipe and started crafting ornate chocolate roses as gifts. Soon she added on chocolate-covered strawberries, which turned into caramel apples in the fall and themed treats around the holidays. Each holiday brought new ideas for specialized sweets, and soon — a business was born. Originally called Pebbles Goodies & Gifts, Stefanie was working up a storm, creating delightful goodies and handcrafted gifts.
After a year and a half of working out of her home; she had built quite a following of local fans who wanted her to put something together for a birthday, holiday, or special occasion. Consistent custom orders helped her build the business, and, in the summer of 2020, she decided to move into a storefront. Just what everyone was thinking in the middle of 2020, right? Let’s take a huge financial risk and start a business! Stefanie admits that one of her biggest challenges has been launching her brick and mortar shop in the middle of the pandemic, but she says enthusiastically, “If I can survive Covid, I can survive anything!”
The newly named Pebbles Drinks & Treats has all the favorites that her customer base has grown to love — chocolates, caramel apples, and even some of her handmade home decor — she has also added more treats to the list of delicious little goodies that she offers. Listed on her Facebook page as a “sugaring service,” Pebbles Drinks & Treats has cases filled with cookies, bars, chocolates, and more. I had the pleasure of sampling a hot cocoa bomb on a cold wintry day that left me wanting to come back again and again. The shop also offers dirty soda drinks and a full ice cream parlor (toppings galore!) featuring our valley’s own small batch ice cream, Wasatch Creamery.
“Some days are busy; some days are slow,” Stefanie says. And she would know, because she single-handedly runs the business as her own one-woman show! She’s in the shop every day, baking away and serving up her treats to her loyal customers. Over the holidays she gets really busy and as a fledgling business owner, she doesn’t want to turn down any orders. She’s still trying to find her rhythm and figure out how to balance running her business while raising a family at the same time. One thing that is nice about having the shop — even during COVID — is that she can be at work when she’s at work and be at home when she’s at home. Having the physical divide between her business and her family has helped her be more present where she is at each time.
On the slow days at work, Stefanie thinks about how to get the word out. Tucked away around the corner off Midway’s Main Street, the shop is in the heart of Midway, but not so readily visible for passersby. Stefanie says she’s keeping her fingers crossed that people in the valley want to support local small businesses. She has a stream of steady fans, and the shop is especially popular with the local kids. (Remember, all kids have stars in their eyes for treats!) Stefanie says that one of her favorite parts of the job is watching the kids come in and get treats. “I love to watch them as they savor what they are eating, and, as a mom, I hope that something sweet that they’re eating is making their day better.” I suppose she’s paying forward that joy that she got from eating donuts in her Grandpa’s shop all those years ago.