Since opening in downtown Lebanon in June 2016, Sugar Vibes has established itself as a community gathering spot for donuts and coffee.
The business was created and operated by the mother-daughter team of Janice Jackola and Janelle Jackola.
“I always wanted to have my own business,” said Janelle Jackola, adding that the primary question was what type of business.
“We were searching for what we wanted to do and took some classes, business classes through the Small Business Development Center at Linn-Benton,” said Janice Jackola. “We ended up deciding on donuts because we used to work at Roth’s when it was in town, both of us did, and people really love those old-school donuts.”
The food industry is notoriously tough and most new establishments don’t survive. But it didn’t take long for them to realize their venture would be a success.
“The line was out the door. They kept coming and coming,” Janice Jackola said. “It’s gratifying to have a community place for people to come and gather.”
They have since expanded to open a Sweet Home location and they currently have about 12 total employees.
All of the donuts are made from scratch at the Lebanon location by a crew that comes in each evening and works through the night. Some of the donuts are then transported early each morning to the Sweet Home location.
Both shops operate seven days a week starting at 6 a.m. and staying open until about 1 p.m. or until all of the donuts are sold.
That leaves the Lebanon location unused through the afternoon and evening and Janelle Jackola has long desired to make fuller use of the property.
That leads to their next idea. In early December, they plan to open The Cellar, which will operate in the same downtown Lebanon location as Sugar Vibes.
“We thought we’d do a two-for-one on the building,” Janelle Jackola said.
Initially, the plan is to be open from 4 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday serving wine, craft cocktails and an ever-changing menu of small plates. The space will be rearranged each afternoon to change the ambience from donut shop to wine bar.
“Nothing crazy, but you’ll notice a difference,” Janelle Jackola said.
A chef has already been hired and is working on the opening menu.
“It could be anything from salmon spread to crab cakes to a filet mignon, a small six-ounce filet mignon, not a 24-ouncer or anything like that,” Janelle Jackola said.
As part of the business expansion, they applied for and received a micro-grant from the City of Lebanon’s economic development department. Each year, that office makes a total of $50,000 in funding available for business to make facade improvements and improve their signage.
The money comes from the city’s transient lodging tax.
They are using the money to add a sign for The Cellar which will be placed above the entry right next to the sign for Sugar Vibes.
“The grant was very helpful and we’re very thankful and appreciative they were able to do that,” Janice Jackola said. “We want to be part of getting this downtown a-going.”
They acknowledged that there has been some confusion about the dual use of the space but wanted to reassure the customers of Sugar Vibes that nothing is changing with that business.
“Sugar Vibes is not going anywhere,” Janice Jackola said.
Alysia Rodgers, the Economic Development Catalyst for the City of Lebanon, said the grant program supported improvements at four downtown locations in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. They are:
- The Treml building.
- The Kuhn Theater.
- The Stainthorp building at the corner of Grant and Main streets.
- Serendipity Cafe & Tea.
Rodgers said the success and visibility of these projects led to increased interest in the program for the 2019-2020 budget year. Within the first nine days that grant requests were accepted, eight businesses applied.
Grants were approved for:
- The Cellar.
- The Weatherford building.
- The Courtney Block.
- The Odd Fellows.
- The Bach, Mayer and Garland building.
- Finally Together Quilt Shop.
- The MBVA building.
- Conversion Brewing.
Each of these businesses has either completed or will complete facade improvements and/or new signage.
Shannon Miller, the owner of Serendipity Tea & Cafe, said the grant helped her paint the storefront, install awnings and put in a walk-up window.
“Business has just exploded,” Miller said.
In addition to the facade improvements, she believes her business benefited from the city taking out the large trees along Main Street earlier this fall. They will be replaced by trees of a more appropriate size.
“The week after the trees got cut down we were slammed and the next week we were busier and the next week we were busier. It’s just been consistent ever since,” Miller said. “I don’t know if it was a coincidence that everything happened at the same time, but it has been great.”
The cafe is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The tea room can be booked for special events and Miller said the schedule for the holiday season is filling up quickly.
Miller is also planning a new business venture, adding dinner service on Friday evenings beginning Dec. 6.
“The downtown has helped a lot,” Miller said. “I think the downtown is really picking up and moving in a great direction. Alysia was so nice and easy to work with and very helpful. It was a good experience.”