Back in 2017, Heather Graham Ekola happened upon her future destiny, almost by accident.
After making her popular caramel apples for all of her friends, family members and students (she was a piano teacher), Ekola set up shop on the front lawn of The Cake Ladies’ bakery during Christmas in Historic Springboro. To her complete surprise, she ended up selling over 600 caramel apples. It was then (and, well, with a bit more planning), that Ekola was able to make it to this point in her career.
“I wasn’t even thinking forward,” said Ekola. “All I wanted to do was make some cash for Christmas. What happened was, after that, people found me. Requests kept coming in, and then I eventually ordered more supplies. Then I thought that I could really try this.”
Though the opening date has yet to be determined, Ekola is bringing her unique and delicious confections to a brick-and-mortar location. The brand new shop, containing three separate spaces for a kitchen, classroom and retail store, will be located in the Springboro Pointe Shopping Center, at 253 W. Central Ave.
“I’ve made these caramel apples for over 10 years, and I’ve only recently started selling them,” said Ekola.
Along with offering a wide selection of caramel apples (and, at that, a caramel apple of the month flavor), Ekola’s vision for the shop includes the presence of up to 15 local vendors bringing in a variety of sweet treats and baking wisdom. These vendors have yet to be made public, but Ekola said they will satisfy every sweet tooth.
Visitors to the store can also expect to see a variety of classes offered at the newly formed space — everything from apple dipping to art lessons. Ekola also hopes to host birthday parties at the space as well.
Prior to setting up shop in a brick-and-mortar location, Ekola was using a renovated section of her home’s basement to craft thousands of sweet treats each week. Throughout 2019, Ekola spent much of her time selling her caramel apples online and at festivals and events like Charm on the Farm in Lebanon, the Germantown Pretzel Festival and much more. Eventually, she knew that it was time to move her large operation into a professional space.
Though Ekola has worked hard to create a solid and sustainable business, she is the first to admit that her business’ meteoric rise to infamy within the Springboro community has been surprising. Before the start of her business, Ekola was an incredibly active marathon runner and fitness enthusiast. Now, Ekola has only a limited amount of time to commit to her former passions — though this isn’t something that necessarily bothers Ekola about her new normal.
“This is another adventure, said Ekola. “It’s a challenge that I needed, though I didn’t realize that I needed the challenge at the time. I needed to step back and realize that something else was out there for me. This is my chapter two.”
Heather’s Gourmet Caramel Apples will not be taking any new orders while they move into their new space. To remain updated on the store’s progress, be sure to follow the business’ Facebook page.
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