For Amy Gage, baking conjures up sweet memories from her childhood.
“My mother baked all the time,” she said. “I remember waking up from naps and coming home from school and she was baking. It became a comfort.
“It was food; it was family; it was home. It was a core value. When I had children, I wanted to give that to them.”
Two years ago, Gage, who teaches at Apex High School, began sharing her goodies through her in-home bakery, Sweet.
“It just spread,” she said. “People don’t have time or take time to bake homemade goodies. I like to give them that. That is to me just family and it is awesome.”
Sweet services a few area establishments, including BREW Coffee Bar in downtown Cary, and delivers custom boxes to individual customers.
“I will really go anywhere,” she said.
Gage begins her rounds at 4 a.m., leaving boxes of muffins, scones or cookies on doorsteps. The boxes are custom-built.
“I wrap it tight and leave it on the front porch,” she said. “I do have my staples: an array of cookies, brownies and muffins.”
But she is open to most anything a customer desires. Her breakfast and teacher boxes are popular.
“Tomorrow I have cranberry orange scones and teacher boxes with mini loaves of bread,” she said.
An in-home business presents challenges, but with children ages 5 and 8, Gage says an off-site bakery is not an option right now.
“It has invaded just about every space in my home, but I’m not willing to go out of the home yet,” she said. “I just deal.”
When she’s not in her kitchen or out on deliveries, Gage is in the classroom teaching 11th-grade English.
“They both are my passions,” she says of baking and teaching. “I’m not ready to give one up.
“Many times I’m on four or four-and-a-half hours of sleep and it’s time to deliver. But I am enjoying every step of this.”
She occasionally calls on her “support staff” to help with the packaging and deliveries.
“My best friend has forfeited a lot of her time for just springboarding information and helping me package,” she said. “I keep my husband busy, too.”
There is one area where she always works alone, though.
“I’m not ready to surrender the baking. I’m way too Type A.”
Already, Sweet’s calendar is filling up for the holidays.
“People will be having family in, and we can bring them cinnamon rolls for breakfast,” Gage said. “It’s all about convenience.”
Gage got her start at local farmers’ markets and is grateful for a community that supports local businesses.
“I take it day by day,” she said. “I have turned away a couple of bigger projects because I didn’t have the time. It disappoints me to do that.
“It has taken off more than I would have ever thought,” she said. “But it’s awesome. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?”
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