The Sweet Life: New Candy and Pastry Shop Opens

Kevin Vera

Hayward denizens have long enjoyed an active downtown shopping district with well-established businesses cozying up to newer ones, like designer coffee houses practically rubbing elbows with decades-old restaurants and pubs.

From a quick pizza to fine dining, downtown Hayward has something to satisfy the discerning palate. At least it does now.

“You know, I have a sweet tooth,” said Martha Vargas, owner of Something Sweet, a new candy and baked goods shop at 1049 B Street.

Vargas, a local hair stylist for 22 years and a salon owner for nine of those years, decided it was time for a change. A sharp business acumen, love of cooking and an almost insatiable appreciation for the sweeter things in life, provided Vargas with the inspiration to open, possibly, the only thing that was missing in pedestrian-friendly downtown.

“Hayward needs a sweet shop, ‘cause I know I can’t find anything here,” said Vargas. “And I’ve looked.”

By conventional logic, one might assume that combining a favored hobby with a business plan would be akin to a dream come true.

“It would be unfair to say it was a dream, but an opportunity presented itself in the last several years. A wonderful opportunity, with the movie theaters…It was a business decision, beside the fact that I love sweets,” Vargas said.

Vargas makes much of the candy and all of the baked goods.

Currently, Vargas rents space in a commercial kitchen.

“I use the commercial kitchen to make some of the products that I can’t make here, like the caramel apples,” Vargas said.

“A commercial kitchen is a licensed, board certified kitchen that you can rent and produce product there,” she stated.

“The reason I’m renting the kitchen is that I needed to open the shop,” Vargas added.

Something Sweet, a mere seven weeks old, has the potential to be a crowd pleaser. The glass-front display cases artfully show off a myriad of delectable goodies; various candies and cupcakes adorn the shelves. A different flavored cupcake is featured each day. Tuesday is lemon day.

Counter tops, as well as shelving along the opposite wall, provide ample surfaces for both her handmade and commercially purchased treats to entice those stricken with the occasional (or chronic) sweet tooth. Jaw Breakers, almost as large as tennis balls, seemed somehow menacing in their nostalgic apothecary style jar.

Free samples of less threatening fare were attractively arrayed atop the counter that will soon hold the coffee pot.

Soon, according to Vargas, the shop will sport tables in a seating area with coffee, hot chocolate and gelato.

“Just think, on a hot day, to pop in for a nice, cool gelato,” Vargas mused.

Customers, Victor, Bruno and Delilah received a warm greeting, and a brief hug from Vargas. Obvious friends of Vargas, they were delighted with her new venture.

“I think the shop looks great. It’s very quaint,” said Bruno.

Returning customer, Lillian Griep, voiced high hopes for Vargas’ success.

“She’s got everything going for her. She’s got a great personality, and the store’s real clean,” Griep said, adding that her husband would be thrilled to have more of the lemon cupcakes that had so impressed him last week.