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'The hard part is leaving this': Sugaree Baking Company to close its doors at end of year

Pat Rutherford-Pettine has co-owned Sugaree Bakery with her husband Jimmy Pettine for 27 years.

ST. LOUIS — Sugaree Baking Company in St. Louis' Dogtown neighborhood has had a long success in selling lots and selling quickly.

After 27 years, co-owners Pat Rutherford-Pettine and her husband Jimmy are selling the business.

The couple has had their fair share of challenges. And even still, their toughest day will be when they close the doors to their shared love.

"The last three years have been the best three years of Sugaree," Pat Rutherford-Pettine said.

But even booming business is not enough to stay open.

"Our bodies are tired, I need to see my daughter more often," Rutherford-Pettine said.

The couple announced the bakery will close its doors to the public on Dec. 30.

"Before COVID, I hadn't iced any wedding cakes for five years. I took that back over again," Rutherford-Pettine said.

Like many locally-owned businesses, the pandemic and staffing shortages took their toll. But the Sugaree story doesn't end here.

"This is our bakery, and we really have been coming here as long as it's been here," longtime customer Guy McCelellan said.

Guy and his wife Peggy McClellan reminisced on memories from the past.

"It's a very special place, and it's been very special for lots and lots of people," Peggy McClellan said.

Rutherford-Petting said her biggest challenge is managing people. But her fondest memory is also the people.

"People (are still) coming up to me and saying 'they still talk about our wedding cake, Pat'," Rutherford-Petting said.

The bakery will carry its wholesale operations to its partners into next year until the business sells.

The owning couple plans to spend some time at the beach and visiting their daughter.

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