Most people traveling on Prairie Avenue between Manchester and Century Boulevard likely find themselves staring at the massive SoFi Stadium. The Inglewood entertainment complex at Hollywood Park is where fans pay high ticket prices to see Beyoncé or Taylor Swift perform, and now that football season has landed, the streets surrounding SoFi swarm with Rams and Chargers fans. But long before that multi-billion-dollar project broke ground, loyal locals formed their own crowds directly across the street while waiting in line at Sweet Red Peach bakery.
Owner Karolyn Plummer enjoys plenty of support from Inglewood regulars who consistently empty her inventory of blue velvet, carrot, or German chocolate layer cakes, sweet potato pie, cupcakes, peach cobbler, banana pudding cheesecake, or the classic dessert beloved by the Black community: 7 Up cake. Plummer, a former teacher turned baker, first started the business back in 2000. Though she loved teaching at Compton Unified School District, she repurposed her retirement funds to launch a longtime dream. After preparing baked goods for her family and selling them at local events, Plummer found that her best sellers were sweet potato pie, red velvet, and peach cobbler. She combined the first three words and knew the business name right away: Sweet Red Peach.
“When I started, I just really loved baking,” says Plummer. “But it’s scary. Starting out on your own is surreal. And after all these years, it still hasn’t hit me yet. I just go in and do what I love.”
In 2019, Plummer took over the vacant space next door at the Holly Park Plaza, which was supposed to be an attached cafe. Renovations were nearly complete on Plummer’s conversion when the City of Inglewood announced plans to convert adjacent businesses and the strip mall itself into a 1.6-mile people mover rail track to connect Metro’s K Line to attractions like SoFi, Hollywood Park, future Intuit Dome, and other sites for the 2028 Olympics. Inglewood mayor James T. Butts Jr. told KTLA that the affected businesses would receive a generous relocation package and help in finding a new place to operate.
Plummer says that, while she’s sad to lose her original space, she has no intention of leaving Inglewood and is still searching for a new home nearby. In the meantime, she opened a Riverside County location in Menifee, where visitors can also count on a regular queue, especially on weekends. As soon as Plummer opened the doors in early July, she found ample support from locals.
Sweet Red Peach and other longtime restaurants are witnessing a lightning-fast change in Inglewood. Some restaurant owners harbored a longtime concern they would not survive long enough to see the benefits of investment. Unfortunately for some SoFi-adjacent businesses, their worries proved to be correct. Bourbon Street Fish Grill closed permanently two years ago, while Ms B’s M& M Soul Food was evicted and relocated in 2021.
As Inglewood remains a complicated prospect for some, Plummer is confident she’ll reopen within the city limits when the time is right. She’ll also debut another location in Torrance’s Del Amo Fashion Center sometime next year. On the East Coast, Sweet Red Peach Atlanta has one franchise location open, with a second on the way.
Amid business expansion, Plummer is eager to talk about the baked good she loves to prepare the most: Sweet Red Peach’s red velvet cake. “That’s my absolute favorite,” says Plummer. “It’s always going to be the number one in my heart and I think I kind of mastered that one. It’s like picking your favorite kid. It’s the first cake I fell in love with.”