Laura Palmer is no stranger to the business atmosphere as she begins her own. Photo credit: Photo supplied by Robin Lewis-Palmer

While many small business owners have had a rough year dealing with COVID-19, Laura Palmer’s new baking business in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. tells a different story.

Palmer, a student in Algonquin’s food and nutrition management program, started her own baking business called Laur’s Kitchen in June, where she bakes her pastries and desserts at home and sells them through her Instagram account.

“I could remember baking my whole life,” said Palmer. “I think that’s probably because of both my grandmothers that put that in me. After I graduated university, I just had nothing going on as far as plans for the next few months. So I decided to start baking and selling it on Instagram and it really took off from there.”

At times, however, balancing her business and school, has caused some strain.

“It can get tough sometimes. With everything online it’s definitely easier because I can multitask while I’m in lectures, which I probably shouldn’t do, but I do it anyway,” Palmer joked. “It can be overwhelming, so I’ll get really busy weeks sometimes, but so far It’s been okay as far as managing both.”

Palmer works alone and tackles her work at the beginning of her day making the pastries she sells.

“It usually starts early in the morning, maybe I’m starting to bake at 8 a.m., depending on what I’m doing,” said Palmer. “Usually it’s donuts every day. So I start making the dough, and then usually I’m done most of the baking by about 2 or 3 p.m. for that day. Then after that, I have to start prepping everything again for the next day. So it’s really long hours.”

Unlike other small businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19, Palmer hasn’t had too much trouble, as she started up the business in the midst of the pandemic.

“I started it once COVID-19 was already here, so I haven’t really been affected by it. I guess one thing would be with less people are having events so there’s less of a reason to buy things like cakes and cupcakes, but so far I’ve been managing okay with the orders that I do get,” Palmer said.

Marina Cuglietta, a frequent customer at Laur’s Kitchen, praises the work she’s put into her business and the food she sells.

“My family and I have ordered multiple times,” Cuglietta said. “We have ordered decadent donuts, sugar free donuts, peanut butter chocolate cake, red velvet raspberry chocolate ganache cake, macaroons and cupcakes as well. We enjoy her quality, everything is very tasty and we are impressed with the work she does.”

Palmer’s most popular desserts are donuts, although it is hard work to make them.

“It takes about three hours to make one batch,” she said. “It’s probably the most labour-intensive thing I offer.”

Palmer says has been pleasantly surprised with the amount of success she has achieved since launching her baking business.

“The amount of support I’ve had in Sault Ste. Marie has been incredible so far,” Palmer said.

Although now more than ever things look impossible to accomplish and begin, Palmer has some words of wisdom for those looking to start their own business.

“Just do it,” Palmer said. ” You will regret not starting it sooner. If you are prepared to, you might as well start it. I waited a few months before I even started my account for all of this and I wish I’d done it earlier because it just would have been even that much more successful by this point.”