A local entrepreneur will be re-introducing her southern-style bakery and school to Bergen-Lafayette over the weekend with a slew of events for both kids and adults.
A business called Sweets 4 Miles Culinary Academy is slated to hold a ribbon-cutting later today at 292 Martin Luther King Drive. The long-vacant property, which was recently utilized by HBO during their filming of “The Plot Against America,” is owned by the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency and will soon be put to good use by local Monique Johnson.
Johnson, who grew up in the Greenville section of Jersey City, initially launched Sweets 4 Miles as a home-based business preparing desserts for family and friends. The bakery is named for her son Miles, who passed away from cancer in 2008 at age 15.
Many of the techniques at Sweets 4 Miles were honed at Sugar Cube, a sweet shop Johnson ran out of Jersey City’s Citimarkets back in 2006. She frequently brought Miles along as her unofficial assistant and the business became popular enough to draw a visit from New Jersey’s own Queen Latifah.
Latifah later visited Johnson’s home after she brought Miles to a taping of the media mogul’s now-concluded talk show. Johnson later worked as a chef on the production before opening the initial version of Sweets 4 Miles on Ocean Avenue in 2015.
The latest edition of the business will offer a wide variety of pies, cookies, parfaits, red velvet cupcakes, and other custom creations. It also looks to build on the former version by offering classes for both adults and children, as the business will be running a culinary summer camp starting in July and is set to offer a six-week baking course.
Johnson additionally runs a non-profit called the Miles 2 Go charity that is dedicated to helping children with life-threatening illnesses. The endeavor donates cakes to terminally ill children for their birthdays and works to educate and register minorities about and for bone marrow donation due to severe shortages.
Following today’s 11:30 a.m. ribbon-cutting, the bakery will be hosting a gaming truck for the community starting at 2:30 p.m. An 8 p.m. “balloon launch” dedicated to Miles’ memory will follow.
Sweets 4 Miles is also set to host a pop-up “kidpreneur” shop on Saturday, June 12, from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. The opening weekend festivities will conclude Sunday with a 7:30 p.m. open mic night, a free event that all are welcome to attend.