Niagara Gazette

Features

October 24, 2012

Gather at Yvonne's

Niagara Gazette — Lakea Strong believes in second chances. 

That’s why, when she opened her new restaurant, Yvonne’s Bakery and Cafe, on Third Street, she was determined to hire those who needed a break. “Everyone has the potential to grow,” she said recently in her tidy, brightly painted cafe.

Strong, who gave birth to her first child at 16, said she needed lots of second chances to grow into the kind of woman who has one career at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, and another as an urban entrepreneur.

The tidy cafe she opened, with its high ceilings and shiny tables, was named after her grandmother, the woman who raised her, because her own mother was only 16 when she was born.

A ‘92 graduate of LaSalle High School, she ran track and played basketball, eventually becoming the number one high jumper in New York state. She had offers from colleges, but she knew she had a son to take care of.

Her grandmother never made her feel less for getting pregnant. “She told me, you’re not the first one and you won’t be the last one,” Lakea said, smiling. The whole bakery is a testimony to her grandmother’s love, she said. That’s why she’s always trying to hire staff that might need a hand up.

She went on to finish community college at Lakeland in Cleveland, and later took at job at Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital. While she is on leave from her job as operations supervisor, she stays in touch with her boss, Sheila Kee, the hospital’s chief operating officer. Kee is a big fan of Strong’s, calling her a “super employee,” and said that the hospital had already ordered some baked goods from the restaurant.

”She brought me a piece of her peach cobbler,” Kee said of Strong. “Oh, my God, it was very good.” 

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • SUN LIFE NCAP 6.jpg PROBLEMS SOLVED: The Niagara Community Action program celebrates 50 years of fixing lives. Susan Quirk never thought she'd need the help. Then one day the avid distance runner was hit by a car. Her life was turned upside down. Her neck was broken and her spine was badly damaged. Formerly a successful hotel and restaurant executive, she was unable to work.

    April 23, 2014 6 Photos

  • NIA Riv Marquee art 042314 Historic Riviera Theatre marquee now in place The face of the Riviera Theatre and Performing Arts Center, the long-awaited and newly-refurbished marquee, was lifted in place Tuesday along Webster Street after an extensive project to modernize the vintage structure.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Tom T mug TOM'S CORNER: Bringing your own parts to repair shop is a bad idea The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday's editions.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Biz Column art 1 042114 Firehouse Subs sets its grand opening for May 3 Two sisters opened a Firehouse Subs franchise in the Town of Niagara in December because they appreciated that the franchise was designed to help local firemen and the communities they serve.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • NIA UB diabetic art 041914 UB's D-Link helps teens deal with diabetes Adolescence is stressful enough, but going through it with a chronic disease that requires multiple daily injections and finger pricks, as well as a fair amount of mental math, is asking a lot of the average teen.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE 140330 Kidney Soldier 5.jpg Vet wins 'life lottery' with new kidney On a recent weekday afternoon two Niagara Falls brothers were picked up by a private limo and taken to a nearby airport runway where a private plane was waiting to whisk them away to Pittsburgh.

    April 14, 2014 4 Photos

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1 040614.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 12, 2014 3 Photos

  • SUN LIFE Farms 1 040614.jpg NIAGARA COUNTY: Effort to get fresh food to the needy is energized by new venture.

    Tom Tower thinks it's a crime to throw away good food. The gentleman farmer from Youngstown is noted for his passion for agricultural craftsmanship, so seeing his carefully grown produce lying wasted in the field causes him great distress. He was one of the first farmers in the region to bring his apples by the truckload to the Western New York Food Bank. It was pure logic and generosity that prompted him to do so, but when the food bank received some state money to buy fresh produce, Tower and Justin Guerin, food bank director, worked out a deal. One month would be a donation, the next month, the bank would pay a fair price for the apples.

    April 12, 2014 4 Photos

  • NIA Tom T mug 041014 TOM'S CORNER: An update on the technology of electric vehicles The Gazette has partnered with local automotive expert Tom Torbjornsen to publish his weekly national column. Tom's Corner will appear in Thursday's editions.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Partners in Art art 1 040914 Partners in Art comes to the Carnegie Center Teachers, students and guests gathered on Saturday afternoon at the Carnegie Art Center to welcome the annual Partners in Art studio exhibit to it's new home for 2014.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page