Small bakery owners work holiday crunch in wake of COVID-19

Home bakeries hope for holiday business

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - It’s go time for Katy Mae’s Bakeshop, a home bakery in Rankin County owned by Katy Howell.

“So you take hot milk and pour it over the top and it melts it down until it pops open and marshmallows pop up and then you stir it and enjoy it,” Howell said as she walked through making her big holiday seller – Hot Cocoa bombs. As the Thanksgiving through New Year’s marathon begins, usually her business is booming.

This year is a little different, but isn’t everything in 2020?

Usually, “the holidays are much busier than normal because people are wanting to give more gifts and things of that nature,” Howell said.

This year, the coronavirus has affected sales from her home bakery all year long. Fewer special occasions, fewer gatherings, fewer reasons for either custom cookies OR cookie platters.

“I mean yeah, it’s drastically affected,” said Howell. “I would go into homes and businesses and do like parties where people could decorate their own cookies, and there’s none of that because there’s no parties.”

A Visa study shows that 60 percent of people plan to buy local this year. Howell says even if 2020 just ends on the same slow note, she’s focusing on why she got into her business in the first place -- to let people like her daughter, Mavis, get together with their friends to have fun.

“It’s usually for a special occasion. I’ve had gender reveal cookies and engagement cookies and wedding cookies, and things where people are getting together to have a good time, and that’s why I started it,” she said.

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