Spending her days in a bakery was not the first career choice for Deidre Peak, owner of the very successful Sweet Addict Bakery, which has two locations in Colorado Springs. Community service was more in her DNA, having a father who was chief of the Mountain Village Police Department (near Telluride) and a mother who was a 911 dispatcher.
“That service to the community was central to my values and that need-to-serve mentality that I still possess,” she said.
Her path took that direction before diverging into the culinary field, and now the 34-year-old mother of three girls and wife of a firefighter is running a bakery with four employees and managing an artisan and gourmet retail outlet.
Peak was born in Denver, but her parents soon moved to the Telluride area, where she lived for 10 years.
“I had a great childhood,” she said. “We loved being in the outdoors.”
No surprise living there meant skiing was part of her makeup. “We had ski P.E. at school,” she said. “I guess that would keep kids in school instead of playing hooky. It was great to have that experience.”
Her cooking skills were learned at home.
“My mom is an excellent cook,” Peak said. “She is Dutch, so my upbringing was all made-from-scratch homestyle cooking. I always had a love and appreciation of food, but my years in college solidified this. Turns out I’m a stress-eater, so the more schooling I attended, the more I was baking. And I got good at it. My childhood solidified my basic understanding of cooking concepts, and my adulthood has been introducing new foods, different techniques and experimentation.”
Despite having all that food know-how, she didn’t take a culinary path at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. “I possess a (bachelor of arts) degree in liberal arts and a minor in Spanish from CSU,” she said. “Then I went for a master’s in political science and attended the Denver Sturm College of Law for one year.”
Public service career
She was on track to go into international human rights law, with a focus “on the situation in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico,” she said. But she dropped out of law school and revisited the influence of having grown up in a law enforcement family.
“I got the bug to serve after opting out of law school,” she said.
She became a sheriff’s deputy in Larimer County, serving for five years, primarily in the jail.
“Being a young 20-something female deputy posed its own issues,” she said. “I chose to make the best of it and used the training opportunities to better myself and instilled the values that I still hold strong today. By the time I resigned, I was a leading commander of an internal SWAT team, a field training officer, on a crisis intervention team, on a peer support team, and had numerous life-saving awards and commendations. They even used me in a recruiting video to gain more applicants.”
Joining culinary word
But the stress of the job had gotten the better of her.
“I realized I was miserable and did a complete 180 with my career,” she said. “Rather than focusing on what I thought I was expected to do, I decided to do what I wanted to do and have made a career out of baking. I now focus my efforts on volunteering when I’m able and then pursuing my calling — baking.”
She first operated under the name of Goodies by Deidre Wood (her maiden name).
“Then I changed it to Gourmet Candy Co.,” she said. “Then I finally settled on Sweet Addict Bakery. Same products and ideas, just undecided on the name until I embraced the ‘Sweet Addict’ concept and rebranded it.”
She and her husband, a Colorado Springs native, moved here seven years ago so he could take a job with the Colorado Springs Fire Department.“We followed his dream job back here and haven’t looked back since,” she said. “We are now raising our three young girls, ages 9, 7 and 4, here as well. In fact, my parents now live in a house on our 40-acre homestead south of Peyton when they’re not traveling the country in their RV.”
She first started her professional baking career out of her home and when business picked up she opened her retail store in Old Colorado City. She makes everything you’d expect from a sweet shop: cookies, cakes, French macarons, candy, caramel apples and pies. Her signature treat is caramel, of which she has more than four dozen flavors. It was her caramels that propelled her as a top seller on Etsy. She was teaching classes in the shop, too, until late last year when she opened a second, much larger bakery where she now holds the cooking classes.
She opened Crafted Colorado in 2016, which began as a holiday pop-up. It’s a shop downtown where artisans can sell their homemade items like candles, jewelry, soaps, signs and gourmet goods.
Working for Peak
Caitlin Zink was Peak’s first employee and has worked at Sweet Addict for a year and a half. She has great respect for Peak and loves her work at the bakery.
“When I interviewed for a position with her company, we hit it off right away. Our personalities really complement each other,” Zink said. “Deidre’s management style is a mix of delegative and transformational. She delegates tasks to the team, then trusts their innovation, creativity and problem-solving skills when it comes to the task at hand. She truly empowers the staff to work as they see fit while giving them creative freedom a lot of bakery workers desire.”
As for being transformational Zink says, “Deidre is very growth-focused with her company. I admire this trait of Deidre because she likes to push her staff to greater heights and accomplishments. She welcomes any new ideas with open arms and excitement. I find Deidre truly inspirational as she is a woman-owned business and so motivated to succeed. She has built this company from the ground up and it’s amazing to see the expansion just since I began working for her. Her dedication to success is unlike anything I have ever seen before.”
Zink loves to watch Peak conduct cooking classes.
“That is when I see she is truly in her element,” Zink said. “She loves sharing her knowledge with others and wants others to be successful in the kitchen. Her passion is baking, there is no doubt about that.”
contact the writer: 636-0271.
contact the writer: 636-0271.