New vegan bakery to open in Ferndale Feb. 1, owner pushing forward despite pandemic

Posted at 1:24 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 13:28:13-05

FERNDALE (WXYZ) — Christopher Pelak of Clinton Township began his vegan journey nearly 13 years ago.

“I did it immediately for health and then after the education, I was like, ‘no, this is my life from here on out,’” said Pelak,

Pelak said he was working in HR at a local nonprofit when a dream that he’s had since graduating college was pulling him in another direction.

“I really just wanted to do something that was working for a vegan company,” he said.

That idea eventually turned into a plan to open an all-vegan bakery in the metro Detroit area.

SugarBuzz is scheduled to open in Ferndale on February 1. Pelak said he signed the lease about a month before the COVID lockdown.

“That wasn’t good timing,” he acknowledged, but he pushed on.

“A vegan dessert is kind of hard to come by, he said, noting that to have one place where everything on the menu is vegan — with a few gluten free options — would be great for a lot of people in the community.

The baker behind the desserts is LaDawn Stuben, who recently moved to Detroit after working in Arizona.

“It was serendipitous that I found her,” said Pelak. “It was like I met the person that was meant to be here with me.”

Stuben, Pelak said, has worked at an executive pastry chef level for more than a decade — and has been previously highlighted for helping people experience paczki in Arizona.

SugarBuzz plans to be serving up vegan pazcki for Pazcki Day that, according to Pelak, have passed the approval of his Polish family.

“It wasn’t quite as heavy, but it came out nearly perfect,” he said.

From oatmeal cookie pies to donuts, cinnamon buns, cakes and more, they plan to offer a variety of vegan desserts.

“I have not had tiramisu in 15 years; she made a vegan tiramisu that is . . . the most amazing thing I have tasted in so long. I would love to have one of those a day,” he said.

Pelak said his hope is that the bakery becomes more than a dessert destination, but rather acts as a place to help other vegan bakers follow their dreams. He said he plans on renting out the kitchen space during off hours — and making it an affordable option for those interested.

“It’s about the community and helping people grow,” he said.

SugarBuzz is located at 23131 Woodward in Ferndale
Hours: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. every day, closed on Wednesday