In early August, Priscilla Myles opened her new retail site for Priscilla’s Pound Cakes in downtown Frederick, Maryland. What started as an online cottage food business in October 2020, now almost two years later, is bricks and mortar.
Priscilla has long loved to bake and knew she wanted to make a business of it someday. So, when her home health-care business stalled because of pandemic-related concerns, she turned to her passion for baking to supplement her family’s income. That someday had arrived.
As is clear from its name, Priscilla’s Pound Cakes specializes in gourmet pound cakes, offered in a variety of flavors, baked to order and without artificial ingredients. In focusing on pound cakes, Priscilla wanted to fill a hole in the dessert market in Frederick and Montgomery Counties. This niche market was highlighted by a story Priscilla tells of a Frederick couple who searched high and low for gourmet pound cake for their anniversary and finally found Priscilla’s Pound Cakes through the online help of their Oregon-based daughter.
Earlier this year, Priscilla reached out to SCORE Mid-Maryland for help in evaluating an opportunity to work with a food broker. Because she also juggles the care of two young children, a 10-month-old and 3-year-old, Priscilla needed to consider how this would impact her need to balance family and business. Enter SCORE mentor and hospitality expert Maria Lewis: “[As a new business], you have to work through what matters, what doesn’t matter and how we can get there as profitably and economically as possible,” said Maria. “We had discussions on how to determine the validity of the broker, and then I laid out alternatives to produce and outsource on her own to create her own retail clients and enjoy a balanced home/business life.”
Ultimately, Priscilla declined the food broker’s offer: “I’ve heard so many stories of people that bit off more than they could chew. I want to grow steadily.” With Maria’s encouragement and guidance, Priscilla is taking the local approach, pursuing partnerships with area coffee shops and markets, and opening a storefront in downtown Frederick. On August 6th, surrounded by friends and family, and, after remarks from local dignitaries, including the mayor, Priscilla cut the ribbon at her grand opening and invited all inside to enjoy slices of her gourmet pound cake. “The future is bright!” she commented.