Total loan: $15,000


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Richmond, VA, United States / Food

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A loan helped a women-owned small bakery endure the pandemic, keep employees, and expand our reach.

Jessie's story

I've had a passion for baking as long as I can remember, and I've been baking professionally for over 15 years. I have a huge collection of well-loved recipes and I love to share them with the community; seeing people's reactions to the things I make gives me life and I adore the validation of my efforts. My first baking job was overnight at Dunkin' Donuts at age 19, then from there I bounced around to local places like Lucille's Bakery (now closed), Williams Bakery, The Mixing Bowl, Baker's Kitchen, and Pearl's Bake Shoppe, started and ended my own home-based baking and cake decorating business, taught decorating courses for Wilton, and eventually landed at WPA. My sister Jackie (the other J in JJ's) ended up working at WPA with me in 2019, and when the owner decided to shutter one of the two locations, we made a deal with him to take over the lease at the Church Hill location and finance some of the equipment. In the course of about 3 months, we got the whole place scrubbed top to bottom, painted over the drab green with some pastels, spruced up the outside, set up all the supplier accounts, hired employees, and opened our doors the day before Halloween. It still feels like we're flying by the seat of our pants most of the time, but we knew what we were throwing ourselves face-first into, and we're still going.