Camille Hall mixes up sweets with Leerah's Vegan Treats

Family is extremely important to Springfield native Camille Hall, and some of her fondest childhood memories include baking and cooking in the kitchen with her grandmothers – Lela and Sarah.
Hall loves to bake in her spare time, and to homage to her grandmothers, she combined their names to launch her baking business, Leerah’s Vegan Treats, in January 2019.
“Around 2018, I bought my grandmother Lela’s house, and it just brought back good memories,” says Hall, who works at the Clark County Board of Elections. “Both of my grandmothers were good in the kitchen, and so as a way to connect with them, I decided to create Leerah’s using both their names. Sarah passed away in 2015, and Lela is still with us at age 96, but suffers from Alzheimer’s disease."

Though neither of Hall's grandmothers followed a vegan diet, both of them dealt with a variety of health issues, so making healthier desserts is my way of honoring them, she says.

"My goal was to create something that was both delicious and better for you," she added. "I wanted to get rid of the harmful ingredients that can be found in foods, but still make desserts that are pleasing to the palate.”
Hall, who graduated from Springfield High School in 2010 and from Wright State University in 2014 with a degree in psychology, made a vision board in January 2019 with the business name and vegan desserts in mind.

She researched, developed recipes, and found replacements for processed products, such as table sugar and enriched flour, using unbleached flour and raw sugar in their place.

Currently a board member of The Gammon House and an organizer of the Gammon Farmer’s Market, Hall decided to try selling some of her vegan treats at the market. Her classic chocolate chip vegan brownies were a hit and are now the staple of her menu. 
“I’m a home baker. Orders are available for pick up, and I do bulk orders for special events through social media and word of mouth,” Hall says. “I usually bake on Sundays. It’s therapeutic for me and a de-stressor. At the start of the week it helps me reconnect and re-center with the most important thing to me – my family.”
Officially in business for three years now, outside of weekly orders, Hall takes her treats to farmer's markets and other community events.
“Baking is just something I enjoy, and it brings me peace – Lord willing into my old age – I would like to see my business grow,” she continued.

Hall's future goals for her business include offering shipping, creating online ordering, and maybe even adding a trailer or food truck to take her treats on the road to festivals and other events.

“I think something that’s always been important to me is creating solutions to problems," she says. "There aren't many plant-based food options in Springfield. I want to provide desserts for that kid who can’t eat the normal birthday cake at a party – that would be very fulfilling for me – seeing people happy and making them feel included.”
Hall now has five variations of brownies on her menu, including chocolate chip, Oreo, caramel brown sugar, smores, and vanilla. She also bakes cut-out decorative sugar cookies, cupcakes, and fruit pizza, which she says is “essentially just a giant sugar cookie with vegan cream cheese icing and fruit.” New to 2022, any items on the Leerah’s menu can be gluten-free by request.
Dedicated to the Springfield community in so many facets, Hall is the co-director of the Young Black Professionals and Businesses of Springfield (YBPBS), which empowers local Black entrepreneurs. She also works part-time as a Community Navigator business coach through The Conscious Connect and Springfield's Small Business Development Center.
“Springfield is my home. I recognize how fragile time is, so I want to spend it with the people who are most important to me,” Hall says. “But I also see Springfield’s potential, and I believe in doing my part to contribute to the type of community I want to live in and raise a family in. I want to make it a better place. 

"I don’t know what life holds, but while I'm here I want to grow my understanding of the people around me. My degree in psychology positively impacted how I interact with others, my passion for civic engagement, and community engagement. It all circles back to that purpose.” 
You can find Leerah’s at the Gammon Farmer’s Market, 620 Piqua Place, from noon to 3 p.m. every second Saturday from June to September. Hall also plans to make special treats for this year's Juneteenth celebration June 11 – red velvet miniature cakes because it is customary to eat and drink red items for the celebration. Red symbolizes vitality, courage, and bloodshed.
To order items from Leerah’s, email Hall at [email protected], or visit the Leerah's Vegan Treats Facebook page or Instagram account. Orders are accepted through the week with pick up on Sundays.
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Read more articles by Cindy Holbrook.