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NXTpass Biz profile: Desert Rose Cafe and Sweet Shoppe

NXTpass Biz profile: Desert Rose Cafe and Sweet Shoppe

This Williamsport cafe is your perfect C&O Canal stop!

Desert Rose Cafe & Sweet Shoppe
Rose Harris, Owner
Located in Williamsport, Md

You run “a little cafe with something for everyone, specializing in smiles” which is located right off the C & O Canal in Williamsport. How did the restaurant idea get started?

Owning a cafe was always a dream of mine and my mother’s. We decided on Williamsport because of its proximity to the C&O Canal. We noticed there weren’t many healthy options available when we were biking on the canal. Our business plan always included healthy options such as vegetarian, vegan, and organic when possible, with a few not-so-healthy options mixed in to accommodate all taste buds. 

You have a limited staff and a LOT of homemade goodies. How do you juggle the demands of owning, running and supplying food for the cafe?

Luckily I am great at multitasking. I constantly have “to do” lists going and try to keep everything organized. I have always been in restaurant and retail management which gave me some experience into operating a small business...but owning a small business is a lot more work than I ever imagined! I recruited my mother-in-law to do our baking after getting married and realizing that she was a trained pastry chef. I also started delegating tasks to other employees so that I can focus on the things that are more complex. I have recently been able to have a life outside the cafe. 

What the most valuable lesson you have learned since opening the cafe in 2008?

Consistency is a must! The quality of your product, your hours of operation, your customer service, your menu, everything must be consistent. People need to know what to expect every time they walk through your door. 

You have many regular customers. What’s the secret to keeping them coming back?

Along with the consistency aspect that I just spoke about is also customer service. We sincerely love our customers! Many of our regulars have become extended family to us. We see them outside of the cafe, we attend parties, throw parties, take them meals when they are sick and help them anyway possible. We also keep our prices low so that people are able to eat at the cafe everyday and not break the bank.

Visit Desert Rose Cafe on Facebook under Desert Rose Cafe and online at

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