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Bellingham Bakery Utilizes SBA Resources and PPP Loan to Spread Joy Through Cake

Headshot of Andi Vann, Owner of Pure Bliss Desserts

Bellingham Bakery Utilizes SBA Resources and PPP Loan to Spread Joy Through Cake

Since a young age Andi Vann has had a fascination with baking, the science that goes into it, and the self-proclaimed world’s biggest sweet tooth. Vann earned a degree in psychology and worked in the field for four years before turning to business ownership. In 2008 she started Pure Bliss Desserts, a one-person baking operation in a leased kitchen at a friend’s café. In 2010 she had the opportunity to make her dream of having a storefront come true by taking over the café and making it her own. Working 100-hour work weeks, Vann thought that she might have to give up her other dream of one day having a family. Vann struggled with the business side of managing employees, delegating tasks, and trusting that her team would perform their jobs the “Pure Bliss” way as they had been trained. By 2018, Vann purchased the building and continued to grow the business until the pandemic arrived. Vann was quickly overwhelmed with all the decisions she had to make while providing emotional support to her team. She needed help and she knew just who to call, Eric Grimstead.


Grimstead is Vann’s trusted business adviser at the Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Vann sought Grimstead’s guidance when she first started her business and throughout the time she’s grown the business. He bridged the gap from not knowing what to do, to how to run a business. Grimstead’s advice helped Vann not lose sight of her goals, both business and personal, by telling her,” You need to know what your personal goals are and align them with your business goals because they matter.” Grimstead was one of the first people Vann called when the pandemic hit. He helped her prioritize tasks and make informed deliberate decisions like securing an SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.  


Through hard work and help from SBA-backed loans and expert advice from the SBDC, Vann fulfilled both of her dreams: owning her own storefront bakery and having a family. Vann grew her business from a one-person operation that opened during an economic recession to a 5,500 square foot storefront bakery with 26 employees. With Grimstead’s guidance she learned how to delegate and trust so that she can nurture both her dreams, working on her business and spending time with her two children. Vann knows that the pandemic impacts individuals. Telling her staff they still had jobs and would continue to get their wages, including average tips, was made possible by funding from the SBA PPP loan. According to Vann, the PPP loan was “an umbrella of financial safety for the employees and the business” which allowed her to breathe a sigh of relief and focus on other decisions she had to make. Grimstead helped Vann concentrate on making one decision at a time to restructure her business to meet safety guidelines and still serve the local community, which has something sweet to look forward to.


From the Business Owner

“Spreading joy through dessert is what I do,” Vann said. “Even during a pandemic, you can’t squelch joy and I do it through cake.” Vann’s advice to other entrepreneurs is to use the resources that are available, get expert advice, never lose sight of the big picture and “Love what you do and do it well.” 

Company Name: 
Pure Bliss Desserts
Bellingham, WA