Swah-Rey, St. Petersburg’s popular cupcake and dessert boutique, will close both locations next month.
Owner Leslie Ann Ciccone announced the news in an emailed statement and later told the Tampa Bay Times she found out only last month that she would have to close the business, which she launched with her husband, Gregg, six years ago.
Ciccone, who has worked for the Federal Aviation Administration since 1991, said she had not planned to shutter the business, but was “offered an opportunity to finish her career with the FAA in San Diego,” and is relocating to California for work.
“The goal was simple, but I had big plans from the beginning to have 10 stores in 10 years,” Ciccone said in the statement. “Sometimes, you very clearly win, and sometimes you lose, in life and in business. Overall, my life and our life has been a win, so I’ll take it.”
Ciccone and her husband opened the first Swah-Rey at 2105 Central Ave. in 2015 and a second location at 625 Central Ave. in 2018. The shops garnered a loyal local following for their expansive selection of creative mini cupcakes, giant cake slices, cheesecakes, cookies and other treats.
While the closure means an end to Swah-Rey confections in downtown St. Pete, there is a silver lining for heartbroken fans, Ciccone said.
Next month, the shop’s pastry chef, Liz Brawley, will start working at The Crumb Factory in west St. Pete. The artisanal bread spot opened earlier this fall at 5701 Central Ave. and has amassed a big following for its naturally leavened sourdough loaves and French pastries.
The Crumb Factory will receive the full recipe book for all of Swah-Rey’s cakes and is free to start selling them if it chooses to, Ciccone said.
As for a closing date, Ciccone says the shop at 625 Central Ave. will stay open until Nov. 7, and possibly a week longer. The location at 2105 Central Ave. is closed and will not reopen.