Advance Network

Brown Sugar Bakery expands O’Hare footprint

Local minority business owner's products now carried at locations across O'Hare thanks to network of partners.

Almost a year and a half ago, a car drove into the Chicago location of Brown Sugar Bakery. But this unfortunate accident had a silver lining: the bakery’s products made their way to traveling customers at Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s Terminal 5.

Just over one year later, owner Stephanie Hart’s products can be found in more stores including various Hudson retail locations throughout O’Hare.  

“My dreams keep coming true and I am truly grateful to URW, Hudson, and The Goddess and Grocer,” Hart said. “It has been a year of learning but the airport community has not only been welcoming but helpful as I continue to explore the opportunities at the airport.” 

When the accident initially happened, our URW team reached out to Hart to see how we could help. We quickly connected Hart with The Goddess and Grocer in Terminal 5 where a line of her confectionary products were added to shelves quickly after the accident to bolster the company’s sales while they worked to rebuild their streetside location.  

Knowing that the bakery’s products were perfectly suited for the airport environment, URW sought to help Brown Sugar expand at O’Hare, connecting Hart with concessions operator Hudson to put thetheir products in Hudson’s O’Hare locations.   

“We are so thrilled we could help Stephanie expand her business at O’Hare and beyond,” said Sherain Thomas, URW Assistant General Manager, ORD. “Our goal is to help more women- and minority-owned businesses succeed at the airport, and we’ve learned it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather workign together to identify the entry point that works best for that business. Stephanie is a perfect example of a business owner starting small and succeeding at the airport.” 

Now Hart has applied to be an Airports Certified Disadvanted Business Enterprise (ACDBE) owner to help maximize her opportunities within the airport. She also is rebranding her products for the airport with Chicago-themed packaging to better showcase that they are local products. 

“Our goal at AMAC is to connect diverse businesses to airport opportunities, and this is a great model of doing just that,” said Eboni Wimbush, President & CEO of the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC). “It is inspiring to see minority-owned concessionaires, URW, and new minority and women-owned businesses come together to not only help a business get into the airport but give them the tools to succeed.” 

On the street side, Hart is rehabbing her factory with target completion this Fall. The redevelopment will enable her to increase her production volume and debut new product lines.  

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