Denver’s Little Sistas Treats, a baker on wheels, is run by two little sisters

Cheesecake cones, sprinkled rice krispies treats, and chocolate chip cookies are sold at the Little Sistas Treats booth during the Juneteenth Festival on June 20, 2021 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

For sisters Zyaire and Char’Les Hawkins, selling off a few hundred baked goods at the Denver Juneteenth celebration is just another business day.

The 12- and 10-year-old girls have been running Little Sistas Treats for about a year, selling cheesecake bags and other colorful creations that they make together on their family’s Highlands Ranch.

Her signature treat is a sugar cone filled to the brim with fresh cheesecake (or her great-grandmother’s peach cobbler) and toppings such as fruit, homemade jams, chocolates and other ingredients, “layered like lasagna,” explained Char’Les. “We invented that ourselves.”

While the cones are currently being bought in the store, they plan to make them themselves in the future.

When you go

The Little Sistas website, littlesistastreats.com, provides information on upcoming events as well as goodies available for sale (prices range from $ 5 to $ 60).

“Wait till they get their bakery,” said her mother Marietta Hawkins, adding that there are plans for gluten-free and vegan options. The coating on the cones is also homemade and “it’s their own recipe,” added Hawkins. Toppings include chocolate and crushed candy, as well as cookie and nut crumbles.

The delicacies are spreading. Featured on Good Morning America, the Little Sistas recently had a chat with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who was talking about their business on social media.

For the Hawkins sisters, all of these appearances were a great honor and just one more part of the process.

“We’ve been doing a lot lately,” said Zyaire. “Take orders, bake, cook…. We just switched from school to work, so we just have to work it out and hope for the best. “

Sisters Zyaire, 12, left, and Char’Les, 10, Hawkins pose for a portrait in front of their company sign at their booth during the June 20, 2021 celebrations in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

Zyaire and Char’Les have been baking since childhood, a passion passed down from their great-grandmother M. Faye Vaughn, who owned a restaurant for more than 50 years and cooked for her community in Hannibal, Mo.

“The best thing about last year for me,” said the girls’ mother, “my grandmother (Vaughn) came to Colorado and taught them how to make traditional goodies like cinnamon rolls, cake batter, baobab and hot crossbread … things that many people like theirs Only learn age when they attend cooking school. “

Char’Les first imagined starting a dessert business in kindergarten. When she was 4, she was painting pictures and explaining to the teachers that one day she wanted an ice cream truck. Her sister said she would like to become a partner and Marietta enjoyed the idea, asking them questions at home about all the flavors they would make and what they would ask for their cones.

By 2020 and the pandemic, the girls had become experienced home cooks and bakers. With the whole family in the house much of the year, Marietta looked for ways to teach her through practical activities and bring much-needed joy to everyone else in her neighborhood.

She suggested they hand out treats to high school graduates and then mothers on Mother’s Day, “and people’s reactions have been just insane,” said Marietta. “Many mothers cried.”

The girls were also delighted. They started planning, holding meetings, and then asking their mom if they could really get into the business.

“Yes, yes, yes,” she told them.

“At first it was super cute,” said Marietta. “And I keep asking her, do you want to stop, are you tired? Because they are children…. Their original goal was an ice cream truck, now they want a bakery and a factory. And I think: who is stopping them? “

Rice Krispies treats with sprinkles and chocolate chip cookies will be sold at the Little Sistas Treats booth in Denver on June 20, 2021 during the Juneteenth Festival. (Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post)

The Hawkins sisters received a donation from another like-minded group of South Denver entrepreneurs, the owners of Sugar Sisters Bakery, who wrote a check for just over $ 1,000 to help get their business off the ground. “It helped us invest in our business,” said Zyaire. “We had our LLC and we (opened) our own bank account.”

“I think they learned from what I saw,” said Marietta, “that they learned the value of a dollar. If you can actually deposit money in your own bank, it is tangible. “

While the sisters boost events and sales over the course of the summer, their “momager” takes them out on the street. Her oldest, Cayden, is 17 and attending college, so the family of five (including Zykel, 14) packs in the car for school visits. “And wherever we go, people want goodies,” says Marietta with a laugh.

While their older brothers are budding athletes (and stars themselves), Char’Les and Zyaire don’t stop at Little Sistas. They planned their own future.

“I still want to be a baker, and I also want to be a nurse and a doctor,” said Zyaire.

“And I still want to do this business, hopefully with my sister,” added Char’Les. “And I want to be a judge while I do this.”

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