Kathy Leslie, 59, and her sister Sandra Austin, 61, grew up on East Nashville’s Hart Avenue. Leslie became a lawyer and Austin a banker, but their focus will soon be on selling cakes and donuts, not far from their old neighborhood.
The sisters are preparing to open up Shugga Hi Bakery & Café in December at 1000 Dickerson Pike, about two miles west of East Nashville’s Five Points neighborhood. The bakery will be the first in its immediate area, which is currently dominated by discount retailers.
“Our purpose is to bring the same type of vibe that’s in the Five Points area over to the Dickerson [Pike] area. … We want to build that area up,” Leslie said.
The bakery itself will feature an “eclectic” menu of brunch items, donuts and alcohol-infused cakes and will have a “funky-type vibe,” Leslie said. The roughly 2,000-square-foot space will seat about 40 people.
Leslie said the sisters were drawn to Dickerson Pike because they believe the area is positioning itself to benefit from the spread of the East Nashville boom and become a new “gateway to the city.”
“I think there will be tremendous growth within the next year or so. … It overlooks the downtown skyline and is a diamond in the rough,” Leslie said.
Leslie also pointed to the fact that about 22,000 cars pass the bakery’s future site each day, as the road is often used by commuters. Convincing commuters to stop by the café before work will be a significant part of her business model, though she emphasized that she wants the cafe to also be a hang-out spot for people from nearby neighborhoods, including Germantown, which sits just across the river from the bakery’s future home. Though bakeries exist west of the river, Leslie hopes residents in Germantown and the urban core take advantage of her company’s delivery service.
Leslie said she had her eyes on the property long before she heard of Topgolf’s coming, but she acknowledged that the entertainment complex could help her sell a few more cakes.
Shugga Hi’s future location sits less than one mile north of Topgolf’s upcoming Nashville location and will open July 27.