“Honestly I couldn’t imagine working with anyone else.”

-Valencia Mitchell, owner, Sugar Cubed Pastry Lab, about her friend Paula Tromp, owner of Happy Soul Vegan and Organic Foods

Paula Tromp and Valencia Mitchell watched each other get interviewed and acted like siblings - laughing and joking and teasing - at an outside patio in downtown Bradenton.

What You Need To Know

Mitchell and her husband Willie own Sugar Cubed Pastry Lab.

Inside the sweet treat stop — a seat at the table for vegan food.

Paula’s business? Happy Soul Vegan and Organic Foods.

What does that mean? It means fried chicken sandwiches AND beyond burgers.

How did this happen?

“We grew up in the same neighborhood. And we were friends,” Mitchell said. “For us to reignite that friendship and it's been like the best thing ever.”

Paula moved in to share the space in December of 2019.

She’d quit her job in the veterinarian field and took the plunge into her side gig- Chef. They laughed a lot about the struggles.

“We're working together, supporting each other emotionally, financially, whatever it takes,” said Tromp.

Tromp says Mitchell’s smile gives her strength.

“My smile is because I don't know how to not smile, honestly,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell thinks her smile might be Tromp’s coffee since she doesn’t drink it.

“And it's infectious and it continues to keep my soul happy so I can help others keep their soul happy,” Tromp said.