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Home baking businesses making a comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic

The owners of Laurelea's Sweet Treats and Crowned Cakes by Jess say graduation orders are way up over this time last year.

OHIO, USA — Graduation season is in full swing and that means bakers are hard at work making treats for celebrations.

The businesses are bouncing back after the pandemic turned life and their industry upside down.

Lauren Dupler, owner of Laurelea's Sweet Treats, says business during the first few months of the pandemic was rough.

"To have my business completely shut down and have no income come in for me, it was really really scary," said Lauren.

Dupler left her job at Toledo Hospital in December 2019 to pursue her online cookie making business full time. But just a few months later, the pandemic hit. 

Fully committed to her business and expecting a baby later in the year, she got creative and sold home cooking kits, mini cookie packs and even offered virtual cooking lessons to try and make a profit.

"I was only able to do two weddings last year," said Dupler, "and both of them were small scale. I think the biggest order I did last year was maybe six or seven dozen."

Jessica Martin, owner of Crowned Cakes by Jess, was in the same boat, seeing business dry up virtually overnight.

"It went from a full calendar, you know a month out maybe even further, to nothing," said Martin.

She started her online business back in 2016, but had to close up her storefront in Rossford this past January, after opening in the fall of 2019. With no large gatherings last year, the business shifted back to completely online.

"These amazing tiered cakes I was used to doing for graduation season, I started doing these tiny ones," added Martin. "But we had to do what we had to do."

Fast forward to this year, business for both women is returning.

"It's only the first week of May and I'm seeing all these orders coming in for graduation that I didn't see last year," said Dupler.

Martin says she's excited to be receiving more larger cake orders again.

"June is almost filled too, so I'm completely optimistic," she said. "I'm seeing my calendar fill up."

Both women say the pandemic helped them become more creative business owners online and from home.

"You get to focus on your product a little more than having to do the extra administrative work at a physical store," said Dupler.

"Feel like you have more control and you're not getting distracted by the walk-in traffic whenever it does come in," said Martin.

Neither has plans to go back to a storefront and both believe we'll start seeing more businesses born from inside the home.