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UndiSCovered: The Sidewalk Cafe Sumter SC

“When life gives you lemons, make macarons.”-Dr. Tracey Flemming

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A serious health scare, a building renovation, the pandemic and a newly discovered talent for baking make one sweet success story.

Dr. Tracey Flemming is not your average businesswomen. She is a mother, an emergency medical physician, top fitness competitor, cancer survivor and a self-taught baker. When she graduated from the Quillen College of Medicine in 1994, never in her wildest dreams did she imagine where her life would take her after she discovered she could make one hell of a macaron.

Let’s go back to 2015. After placing first in fitness competitions in 2015 and 2016, Dr. Flemming’s busy schedule drove her to search for healthier food choices in Sumter. She mentioned this to her trainer, Missy Corrigan. They talked about the lack of fitness-friendly restaurants in the area. Her trainer’s response: “Why don’t you open one?”

Tracey did.

The Sidewalk Cafe was born. After finding and renovating a building on Main St. in downtown Sumter in 2017, the doors to the cafe opened.

(Click to view)

(Via:The Sidewalk Café)

Having had much success with the cafe, Tracey began to develop a love for the art of food. One day, while in the cafe with her staff, she was discussing a recipe for macarons. Both her barista and baker told her she would not be able to make these delicate French cookies. Dr. Flemming saw that as a challenge. She came into the cafe the next day, having successful executed making macarons.

What is a macaron you ask? Why is it so difficult to make?

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(Via: The Sidewalk Café)

The whimsical macaron. A French creation that has made fools of even the greatest of pastry chefs and bakers. This cookie is typically made of blanched finely ground almonds, and sandwiched with a creamy filling. They come in an array of colors and flavors with endless combinations. Their difficulty, an array of obstacles. First, one of the biggest, they are very susceptible to moisture. Most macaron recipes call for aged egg whites. These egg whites usually hold less moisture, thus allowing for the cookie to retain less.

(Click to view)

(Via: The Sidewalk Café)

In high humidity environments, it is imperative to have the air conditioning at a regulated temperature, in order to provide an adequate environment for the cookie. The high maintenance macaron also requires a good batter folding technique and normally the use of powdered food coloring verses the liquid.

So, emergency medical physician: check. First place fitness competitor: check. Successful cafe in downtown Sumter: check. Mastered macarons: check. What other barrier could stop Dr. Flemming? The pandemic.

(Click to view)

(Via: The Sidewalk Cafe)

With much sadness, The Sidewalk Cafe closed in July 2020. Then, later came another devastating blow.

Suddenly, Tracey starts experiencing vision problems. After a few visits to the doctor and some diagnostic procedures, it was discovered Tracey had developed a cancerous brain tumor that was causing her vision loss. Her surgery and treatment left her without a job.

For most of us, this would have derailed any forward progress with any project or dream, however, some people just have a unique perspective on life. Their grit propels them to adapt to change and overcome challenges.

After recovering from her brain tumor and treatment, Tracey re-opened the cafe in March of 2022, and focused on her skill to make macarons.

(Click to view)

(Via: The Sidewalk Cafe)

With the help of her two daughters and her son, she is baking macarons and shipping them. No matter where you are in the country, you can enjoy these amazing cookies, baked by this astonishing woman.

On a typical day, Tracey sells on average fourteen dozen macarons. Those numbers are increasing and she is now offering to bake macarons for businesses that want to carry her cookies.

“We’re now baking our macarons for a local bakery. Would love to offer this option to other bakeries or organizations that would like to carry our product at their facility.” – Dr. Tracey Flemming

(Click to view)

(Via: The Sidewalk Cafe)

The most popular flavors are her Banana Pudding and Red Velvet. She likes to offer a different selection of macarons every week. She will also do custom orders for parties, baby showers, birthdays, you name it!

(Click to view)

(Via: The Sidewalk Cafe)

Tracey’s story is one of inspiration, perseverance and most of all, encouragement. If you stop by her Facebook page, she is often posting videos. She provides wisdom and information for people who want to start their own businesses, all while she’s in action in the cafe. She has giveaways, and of course beautiful pictures of her colorful cookies. When asked what advice she would offer people struggling in any aspect of their life, Dr. Flemming says, don’t limit yourself.

“When life gives you lemons, make macarons.”- Dr. Tracey Flemming.

Business Profile…

BUSINESS: The Sidewalk Cafe
INDUSTRY: Macaron Bakery
OWNERS: Tracey Flemming
EMPLOYEES: 1-Tracey Flemming
FOUNDED: 2017
LOCATION: 154 S Main St, Sumter, SC 29150
WEBSITE: Thesidewalkcafesumter.com
OTHER LINKS: Facebook

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Via: Lexington Yankee)

Angela Schumpert is a wife, mother and veteran of the United States Air Force. Originally from Ohio, she is a Buckeye fan and loves college football. Angela loves to write about local hot spots, so if you know of one, let her know!  She is the creator of Lexington Yankee Blog.

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