We are Sharon and Kristen Lloyd, a mother/daughter team that own and operate SweetCheeks Kitchen in beautiful Almonte, Ontario.
Both of us have been vegan for a decade and we have celiac family members, so gluten-free has been our story for about 34 years. Experimenting with recipes kind of became second nature to us. And opening SweetCheeks Kitchen makes us third and fourth-generation bakers, so having fun in the kitchen really runs in the family!
We’re very family focused, and we love taking that energy into the community. Everybody who knows us feels like family. That song, “You’ve got a friend in me” – that’s our jam.
Our business is about providing something to our community that we went without, and it’s done with so much love and care and understanding.
One of our very first clients was Equator Coffee Roasters, back when they just had their Almonte location. Sharon was in line to get coffee one morning at Equator, when we’d just started partnering with them, and watched someone in front look across the baked goods display at all of our vegan, gluten-free treats, and say, “finally, somebody who cares.”
That’s why we love what we do, it’s showing people we care.
Our product is something you can bring to a party and set out, and no one has to worry about whether they can have one. SweetCheeks is allergen-conscious, gluten-free, and vegan – we’ve got all your bases covered so no one feels restricted and no one gets left out.
We’ve stuck to wholesale and online ordering because it allows us to concentrate on a wider reach rather than establish a storefront. We set out to make delicious, gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan treats accessible to as many people as possible – and we intend to reach that goal.
Even though SweetCheeks is growing, at the end of the day, this business will always be a mother and daughter laughing and singing along at volume in our kitchen.
If you’re looking to make some tasty things at home, we’d love to share our favourite recipes with you. Follow our blog, Recipe Box, for easy, healthy vegan and gluten-free recipes (sweet and savoury) or sign up for our newsletter to get all things delicious sent right to your inbox!
To us, this will always be about including as many people as possible in sweet-treat-eating. We’re really grateful for the success we’ve had with wholesale and how it’s helped us connect with a larger vegan and gluten-free community.
SweetCheeks was originally a family pet name. When we first started our business it just felt like a good fit, but now the name is a tribute to just how much of this is built on family.
SweetCheeks Kitchen started in 2012 at a famer’s market as an excuse for us to spend more time together. We had been taking traditional family recipes and veganizing them (or making them gluten-free) for years because of how we ate as a family but realized other people might not have the same luxury of experience.
We wanted to make good, wholesome food and share it with our community.
The community really welcomed us, people started to approach us about supplying their café or grocery store. From there, what began as a summer project started to pick up momentum. We planned and carefully tested a product line and in 2013 we went into retail.
At the time, Kristen worked in corporate IT and Sharon worked with the school board. Kristen was living in the UK for work and using all her holiday time to come home and work on SweetCheeks. But, at the end of 2014, she moved back to the Valley permanently.
It was strange to go from feeling stressed and high-strung at work to laughing and singing along with her mum in the kitchen everyday. That’s how SweetCheeks started out, and we don’t think that’s ever going to change – even with all the big plans we have.
SweetCheeks Kitchen is now a part of the Sobeys Look for Local Program which means we’re in most Sobeys and Foodland stores within Ottawa and the Valley. You can also find us in smaller health food stores and independent grocers in the area.
We’re excited to reach as many people as possible which is why we’re expanding to become more available throughout Eastern Ontario in other major grocery stores who have local programs.
Take a look at our Find Us page to see our current retail locations or sign up for our newsletter to get updates on where you can find us next.