After three years in business on the Drive, PAC Pastries in Wilton Manors has sold its last cupcake.
Owned by Shelbey Chiavari, the vegan and gluten-free bakery closed its doors on Saturday, going out with a bang selling treats for Valentine’s Day and loyal customers who wanted to get their last tasty bite.
“I got a lot of love in that last week,” Chiavari said. “It was nice, but it is sad.”
Prior to opening her brick-and-mortar in Wilton Manors, Chiavari sold her baked goods wholesale through commissaries or businesses like Raw Juice. In January 2019, she made the next move to open on Wilton Drive between Johnson’s and Shades of the Past. She was drawn to the location because of the foot traffic, its proximity to her home, and that she could walk to some of her favorite spots on The Drive.
The business was known for its cakes by the slice, as well as the Slutty Brownie, a three-layered brownie bar. But it stood out because it’s perhaps the only place you can buy baked treats that are vegan and gluten-free.
“People who couldn't actually have the regular stuff could feel like they could indulge or actually have a birthday cake for once or have a treat like that,” she said.
When she first opened her doors, Chiavari said the “first year was amazing,” especially with newcomers popping their heads in as they walked along the drive. She was also getting custom orders for birthday cakes and other celebrations. Then, COVID hit, and like many other small businesses, PAC Pastries was hit hard. She started curbside pick-up for clients and even offered delivery as far north as Jupiter to keep things moving. But coupled with the tough economy was difficult to find employees, and a high rent didn’t help.
“We would have to sell a lot of cupcakes every month to meet that,” she said. “It was a lot.”
Unfortunately, she decided during the holidays that she would make it to their third year anniversary before closing for good. While it’s “definitely bittersweet,” the business owner is also looking forward to not having to be a boss for a while. Local businesses are eager to buy up her equipment, some are offering up commissary space for her to bake like she used to, and she’s received offers from restaurants looking for pastry chefs. As a self-taught baker, she said “I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be qualified.”
“A lot of the local businesses have kind of surrounded me with open arms as well which is really nice,” she said. “I really need to take a breather, I’m so burnt out.”