Gate City, VA (June 18, 2018) – When Maggie Demory, of Gate City, got into the cake business, at first, it was more out of necessity than it was a plan to bake cakes for a living, but that changed when she saw that not only could she make and decorate cakes, but that she loved doing it.
It was two days before her daughter, Gracie’s first birthday when the Kingsport baker she hired (now out of business) cancelled on her. With the big party already planned, she says, she looked at her sister and announced, “we’re making a cake.” And so they did – a frilly, girly cake with pink and green icing and lots of flowers. She posted it on social media and almost immediately began to receive requests from others for her to design and bake cakes for them.
After that first foray into the world of baking – a step she really first took, she recalls, when as a child she baked cakes with her grandmother — she began making and decorating cakes for others from her home kitchen on nights and weekends. She continued to hold a full-time job by day — not yet quite brave enough, she says, to leave the security of a regular paycheck. However, as her side business grew, she began to dream of having her own bakery business location and the sideline business became a full-fledged bakery earlier this year as she began renovating space in downtown Gate City to open Sweet Maggie’s Craft Bakery.
The realization of that dream, she says, is due in part to a $5,000 seed capital matching grant she received from the Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority (VCEDA).
“It has helped me a lot,” Demory says of the seed capital matching grant. “I had the basics, but this has given me the ability to make things more functional. Having different work areas where I can bring along several cakes at the same time has helped, not to mention having the ability to make it a walk-in business.”
The ability to purchase some needed baking equipment — like a commercial mixer — has also made the business of making cakes and icing a little easier.
“VCEDA was pleased to be able to assist Sweet Maggie’s Craft Bakery in its planning to open a business storefront,” says VCEDA Executive Director/General Counsel Jonathan Belcher. “The seed capital matching grant fund seeks to provide small businesses with the assistance they need to get things started and to create jobs. It is projected Sweet Maggie’s will create at least one full-time job.”
Demory also credits Tim Blankenbecler with the Small Business Development Center at Mountain Empire Community College, for his assistance in working with her to develop the business plan and other elements required to apply for the VCEDA matching grant.
Already the new space is decorated with vintage aprons, antique baking pans and bright colored ribbons. A variety of signs from “Bake the World a Better Place” to Granny’s advice: “What You Eat Standing Up Doesn’t Count,” are scattered on the shelves. Even the chandelier on the ceiling depicts all things bakery as it hangs from an artfully designed mounting plate which Demory fashioned and designed to look like a decorated cake.
Once the space renovation is complete and she opens the doors to the Cleveland Street bakery, in addition to the wedding, birthday and special occasion cakes for which she has become known, she also plans to offer cake pops, cupcakes and cookies for pick-up and purchase at the bakery.
Shabby chic, floral creations tend to be her specialty, including hand-painted buttercream designs which allow her to explore the art side of her talents. She works from sketches she comes up with after consultation with clients about the kind of cake they want to see. Most of the cakes she makes, she says, are multi-tiered cakes. Growing up she says she always wanted to be an artist, but was told she needed to find a career that paid. Later in life, she has found that artistry can come in many forms.
“It’s not acrylics or oils, it’s icing,” she quips.
One might call what Demory creates “edible art.”
She averages making about 10 cakes per week and when she has leftover icing, she makes an extra six-inch cake and puts it on her Facebook page where she auctions it off. She has sold those auction cakes for anywhere from $60 to $80. She prefers to have at least 24 hours notice on a cake order, but adds the more time she has to prepare, the better.
“This is a dream come true,” Demory says. “I always dreamed about having a place to meet with clients, to be able to do cake tastings and to give brides the full bridal experience of choosing a cake for their special day and now I have that.”
She credits her husband, Eddie, and her children, Gracie, Pacy and Austin, for believing in that dream and for encouraging her along the way. Eddie helps now with cake deliveries and clean-up.
“Designing cakes is something that makes me really happy,” she says. “The thing is, a pretty cake can taste good too. It’s a blessing to be a part of so many people’s celebrations and I thank God for giving me the talent to do it and for placing people in my life that are so supportive.”
For more information about Sweet Maggie’s, interested persons may visit sweetmaggiescraftbakery.com; find the bakery on Facebook or Instagram; or call Demory at
About Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority and Virginia’s e-Region: The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1988 to enhance and diversify the region’s economy and help create jobs, markets Virginia’s e-Region and its focus on electronic information technology, energy, education and emerging technologies. VCEDA is a unique economic development organization that manages funds for economic development projects from a percentage of the coal and natural gas severance taxes paid by coal and natural gas companies that operate in the region. Located in southwestern Virginia, the region includes Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Tazewell, and Wise counties and the City of Norton. www.vceda.us or www.e-Region.org.