In 2005 I was living in Los Angeles where I paid $600 for a studio apartment in Echo Park. Brag. During that time there were a lot of firsts. I got my first adult job. I saw my first celebrity at a party (Perry Farrell from Jane's Addiction). I lived up the street from the first American Apparel and I worked on the same street as the very first Sprinkles Cupcakes shop. I remember calling people and telling them there was going to be an entire store devoted to cupcakes. They all thought I was mad.
It wouldn't be accurate to say I have a sweet tooth. Oh no, I have a sweet full set of teeth. The very first thing I look at when going to a new restaurant is the dessert section of its menu. As I type, I am mere feet from candy, cupcakes, cake, and cookies. How am I still alive, you ask? Great question. This is why I cannot understand how an incredible bakery like the Sweet Lady Jane cake shop could possibly be gone forever. Why did it close? Here's what we know.
Why did Sweet Lady Jane close?
According to a heartbreaking message on the Sweet Lady Jane Instagram dated Jan. 1, 2024, the beloved bakery's last day was sadly Dec. 31, 2023. After 35 years, the sweetest store in the Tinseltown was saying goodbye. "We did not come to this decision lightly nor quickly," they wrote in the post. They went on to say that sales haven't been enough to keep up with California's increasing lease costs, nor could they afford to pay their employees a livable wage.
"For more than three decades we didn’t just build a loyal customer base, we created a real community. It has been a privilege to be included in your sweetest moments. Big and small," said the shop. They closed the devastating update with a funny but bittersweet joke: LA’s most beloved Triple Berry Cake will live on in your memories, and in ours.
The comments section was flooded with disappointed customers, including a few famous faces. Blake Lively, who could afford to invest in their company, wrote, "No, no, no, heartbroken sending love and gratitude for the years of joy and deliciousness. Come open in NY. We need you here." Unfortunately commercial real estate in New York is probably more expensive, thus re-creating the same problem.
Some people think Sweet Lady Jane is closing due to poor business decisions.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Sweet Lady Jane "celebrated its 35th anniversary in June , recently remodeled multiple stores, and had plans to open new shops in Larchmont and Marina del Rey."
One person on Instagram commented that the bakery's expansion was its ultimate downfall. "Your business plan failed by opening too many locations," wrote user @lalajoolz under the bakery's farewell post. "You make hundreds of cakes weekly at a very high cost ... For what you charge for your cakes you should be able to pay your staffing needs just fine."
Pointing fingers certainly won't help. At the end of the day, Los Angeles has lost an important part of its community. The city is large and spread out, but Sweet Lady Jane felt like a neighborhood shop. In particular, the aforementioned Triple Berry Cake was a signature dish of sorts. Several people in the comments were mourning its loss as much as the loss of yet another business. Perhaps someone will save the day.