Local Parkite bakes for a sweet cause

PARK CITY, Utah — Laura Francese has always been a go-getter. From a young age, she enjoyed baking with her mom and creating delicious and pretty goodies for people to enjoy. That passion for baking has not changed and, in fact, catapulted her into opening Park City Cakery. Proceeds from the Cakery help fund her animal rescue non-profit, SugarFace Foundation, named for the sprinkling of white fur on a dog’s aging face.

And that’s not all; Francese is a mom, a former NFL cheerleader, and a professional archer of 11 years. She is living proof that no matter our age or station in life, it is never too late to pursue our passions.

Francese is a native Utahn who moved to New York with her husband in 2001. During childhood, she was inspired by a young girl who shot a bow in the Olympics. Francese made this a goal of her own and successfully became a professional archer, even having a TV show about archery at 33. Check, and next…became a cheerleader.

The entire Francese Family.
The entire Francese Family. Photo: Laura Francese

“I never had the confidence to try out, ever,” said Francese. “I wanted to, every year, from ninth grade through college, I even drove down to Snow College to try out and chickened out and went home. I had regret for years. So when I was 33, I knew it was either now or never, I went and auditioned for the Buffalo Bills, I just wanted to have the guts to show up, finally. I made it, and cheered for the Bills for seven years, I retired when I was 40 and became a mom at 41.”

Francese moved back to Utah in 2013 and purchased a home with two kitchens in 2019. She decided to utilize the space to return to baking and baked her way through the pandemic, all while saving dogs. She wanted a job she could do from home and something that would make people happy. The dog rescue side hustle has grown tremendously over the years prompting Francese to create a non-profit.

“I saw a dog online in 2006, less than a year after I started Park City Cakery, through a Weimaraner rescue out of Colorado. He had been confiscated in an animal cruelty case; he was basically a skeleton with skin. I knew I had to have this dog,” Francese said.

“I didn’t know his story but I knew I needed to help this dog, to rehabilitate him and give him a life that he deserves for whatever amount of time he has left. That was the inspiration for SugarFace Foundation.” 

Francese felt compelled after that to continue saving other dogs. Especially those who didn’t have much chance for adoption due to age or health issues.

Photo: Laura Francese

The foundation provides all food, medical care, medication, and living expenses. Some dogs that enter the SugarFace Foundation are available to foster, and the foundation assists with costs as well.

In the spirit of continued giving, Francese recently hosted her first fundraiser (yes, baked goods were involved), which was a success, and she has the opportunity to save more dogs.

In 2020, SugarFace Foundation lost five dogs. Four passed from cancer and one from complications after bloat surgery. Francese takes each rescue into her home and her heart and gives them the best life she can until they move on.


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