Brian Zoubek never experienced the sweet taste of success. At least not in the latest chapter of his young life.
The 24-year-old, 7-foot-1 former Duke NCAA basketball champion and Haddonfield Memorial High School standout opened a gourmet cream puff shop in late July with the fanfare of national media attention after a Haddonfield Patch article went viral.
But a plain sheet of white paper taped inside the front window of his Dream Puffz Creations bakery this week at 605 N. Haddon Ave. in Haddonfield spelled out an untimely epitaph.
"Unfortunately, we are now closed for the time being," the sign read. "Thank you for all your support and business..."
Late Tuesday evening, Zoubek said he made a decision to shut his business down on Saturday, after a bout of soul searching.
"I learned more in the last six months than I did in the first 24 years of my life," Zoubek said during a telephone interview. "Just one of those things, learned a lot but discovered it was not for me. It's not like it needed to close, it could have kept going. But I had to make a decision to commitment or move on to something I might enjoy more, or get more out of."
Zoubek's decision was so swift that several customers who had orders were urged to reach him by email to get refunds. He said all the customers had been reimbursed by Tuesday night. They can still reach him at email@example.com.
He said the cream puff business turned out to be a little tougher than he thought.
"A couple of things that I thought might be able to happen, such as online shipping, I figured out you really can't do, at least not at the same quality and also in terms of wholesaling and the expansion of the product," he said.
Zoubek, part of an NCAA national championship team at Duke University in 2010, said he has begun to dabble in real-estate investing, which could be his next business venture. He said he was grateful for the support his business got in his home town and wanted to thank all of his customers.
"If you find out you're not doing what you want to do every day, then you make a change. Life's too short," said the 7-foot man.