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Hey, Dollcakes! You’re the SBA St. Louis Start-up Business of the Year

Connie Nylan putting icing on a cake

New chapters can bring all sorts of adventure, excitement and change to a person’s life. Connie Nyland’s new chapter brought a new business into hers. Connie is the owner of Hey, Dollcakes, an O’Fallon, Mo. based bakery that is known for its pretty dolls wearing flowing dresses made out of cake and icing. After raising four children, putting them all through college and watching them move into their own apartments and careers, she decided to use her newfound freedom to launch her business.

“I had always baked and enjoyed the fact that everyone really liked my baked goods,” Connie said.

In the early stages of operation, Connie’s bakery operated from her home-based kitchen. Before attempting to expand, she researched the various business classes offered throughout the St. Louis area. Connie took several classes offered by SCORE, an SBA resource partner that offers free counseling for entrepreneurs looking to start or grow a business. Through SCORE she learned about another SBA resource partner that would give her a strong foundation for a successful business-- the Grace Hill Women’s Business Center.  She enrolled in their 16-week Women in Business Opportunity Course, which covers every facet of starting and running a business including concept and business plan development, marketing and pricing strategies and business law. In the summer of 2016, it was time to bring her business out of the home and into a store-front location.

Connie’s involvement with SCORE brought her into contact with mentors and fellow small business owners she could lean on for support and advice. That’s how she met SCORE counselor Ray Gallardo, founder of a popular restaurant chain formerly known as Casa Gallardo.

“Ray gave me some really good advice on what items would sell best in my bakery and how to rearrange my store to attract more customers,” Connie recalls. “I’m now using my storefront to display my specialty cakes.”

Connie Nyland has made good use of a number of services offered through the SBA and her diligence has earned her business recognition as SBA’s 2017 Start-up Business of the Year for Eastern Missouri. She says the award made her feel encouraged and inspired to make the business extremely successful.

“St. Louis has a lot of opportunities for small businesses,” she said. “I feel very grateful for all the encouragement and support I’ve had from class instructors, mentors and the customers who visit my store.”

Company Name: 
Hey, Dollcakes
Location: 
O'Fallon, Missouri