*As told to Kally anonymously.
Okay, I’m going anonymous here. Not because I have some terrible secret to hide but just the opposite, I actually have an inspiring story to share. But because of the circumstances surrounding the story and at the request of my family, we decided not to blow up this any bigger than it already have. We have already achieved our goal and is well into recovery. Our way to pay it forward is to tell our story, perhaps you can find some inspiration in it and restore some faith in humanity during these awful times.
Now that I have said the disclaimer, let’s begin…
I am a baby boomer so you can guess how old I am. I inherited a small little bakery right behind my house. This little bakery was started from my great grandmama. And my grandmother inherited it. Then my mother inherited and passed it down to me. It has always been in the family.
You can tell it is very close to my heart. It is my childhood, my heritage and my past. We passed down recipes of our cakes and pies. With each hand, we improvise our recipes.
Our little bakery weathered through natural disasters and economy downturn. But it couldn’t withstand SARS in 2003. Like it was fated to end in my hands. Nothing I could do as I see each day passing by with the bank foreclosing our little bakery.
I was extremely sad. I don’t want to get out of bed at all. But every morning, I forced myself to get up and bake those wonderful cakes, as if it was the last day in my little bakery. My heart couldn’t take the worries and stress. I had a minor stroke and had to be in bed for a few months.
SARS truly bring in my family closer. My children pooled their savings to keep our bakery from closing and soon, I started baking again.
My children and grandchildren had a meeting together and brainstorm ideas to save our bakery. We opened up a small area outside, placed some tables and chairs (we found in Red Cross and thrift shops) and started to serve cakes and tea in our neighbourhood.
Somehow, one of my grandchildren start spreading the word in her workplace and bringing the free cakes that I have made (but nobody buys) to her workplace. Her colleagues love the cakes so I made more. And more. And more. I was happy that someone appreciate my cakes again.
One of her colleagues brought some of the cakes home to her parents who owns a few cafes. The parents came around to my little bakery and we agreed to supply them with our cakes. Another coworker of my granddaughter’s ordered cupcakes and wedding cake. Then her company ordered cakes to give to their clients when SARS ended.
Words get around and orders started pouring in. Within a year after SARS, we were able to pay off most of our bank loans.
Now, I am no longer baking anymore. I have handed over my business to my daughter. Even during this pandemic, I can see how resilient she is, converting our little bakery online and selling them on e-commerce stores. She created jobs for her nephews too, by getting them to deliver everywhere for her. My grandson is helping out with the marketing while my granddaughter is also helping out the operations since both of them are laid off during this time.
I’m happy that all well ends well for the little bakery.
I hope by telling this story, many small business owners can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Nobody can stop you from dreaming, only yourself can choose to either wake up from a nightmare or continue to live your dreams.
Perseverance and positivity are the only things that keep us going during tough times. This Covid crisis like all economic crisis creates fear and uncertainty in everyone’s heart. But it (SARS and Covid) have made my family stronger and closer than before. And to me, someone whose one foot is already in the grave, family harmony is of most importance. And it is more that I can ask for.
To understand is to wear someone’s shoes, here are some stories that peek into someone else’s’ lives:
Whisper: I Am An Office Diva
Whisper: I exchanged my family for my career
Whisper: I’m 38 And I Still Live With My Parents
Best things in life are meant to be shared, start spreading MiddleMe around, after all, sharing is caring.