When Kristen Lineberry and Tiffany Young opened their bakery – The Painted Batter – on Aug. 25, 2017, they had one fear: “We were worried that no one would come.”
But reality quickly painted a different picture for this new Asheboro, N.C., business, owned and operated by two young mothers: “We had a line out the door all day.”
Lineberry, who lives with her husband, Donnie, and their four children in Troy, N.C., was friends with Young and her husband, Richard, and their two children. Young’s family lives in Ramseur, N.C. Lineberry, 29, and Young, 30, used to get together at Lineberry’s house.
“I was a stay-at-home mom,” Lineberry said. “I started decorating furniture. Tiffany had been decorating cakes for nine or 10 years. We would decorate some furniture and then she started showing me how to decorate cakes.
“It wasn’t long before we decided to bake and decorate cakes as a home business. But pretty early we decided to get a space. We looked at places for two or three months.”
“We thought it would be awesome if we had a storefront,” Young said. “A lot of people in Asheboro had started asking us to open something up. We wanted it to be a different kind of bakery, so we thought about selling cake by the slice and doing different kinds of events. Asheboro doesn’t have a bakery like us.”
Once they found their spot at 208 S. Fayetteville St., they started the process of renovations.
“We started doing renovations out of pocket,” Lineberry said. “We did all the work on the renovations with our husbands – and we did it non-stop. But then it started draining us financially.”
At that point they turned to Truliant Federal Credit Union. Lineberry has been a Truliant member for 12 years. “It’s where my parents bank. I got my first loan at Truliant when I was 18. I got a $5,000 personal loan to help build my credit. I’ve had multiple loans since then, including several auto and personal loans.”
Young started banking at Truliant because her husband was a member. She’s been with Truliant 10 years. “I had problems with First Bank, so I switched to Truliant,” Young said. “I like Truliant because they are so easy to deal with. The personal line of credit is nice, and with mobile banking I hardly ever have to go into a branch.”
Lineberry and Young went to high school with Ashley Jones. At the time of their planning, Jones she was a member-service specialist in the High Point branch. Now, she is a coordinator at the Member Financial Center in Greensboro.
“Since I went to high school with both Kristen and Tiffany, they reached out to me through email,” Jones said. “We talked on the phone about options for getting a business started. We talked about business loans, but since they hadn’t started the business yet so they couldn’t get a business loan from Truliant.
“The name The Painted Batter really struck me in their proposal. I thought it was really creative. I didn’t have any concerns about their plan. You could tell they were driven.
“I was able to get them a personal line of credit for $8,500...It’s really exciting for Asheboro to have a bakery like this – and it was really exciting for me to be a part of helping them start their business,” Jones said.
To finish the final pieces for the The Painted Batter, they used the $8,500 to buy a sink, tables, stainless steel tables, mixers and some cake-decorating equipment.
While The Painted Batter makes everything from scratch, their signature trait is fondant icing. The key ingredients in fondant are sugar, water and corn syrup. It allows Tiffany to do sophisticated figurines that can be intricately painted.
“My whole life I’ve been into art and painting,” Tiffany said. “I saw fondant decorating on TV and just picked it up. Everything I do is self-taught. Over the years it’s just been trial and error. Sometimes my husband or I eat my errors. You can’t learn if you don’t fail.” (Eating your failures makes failure a little more tolerable).
Because decorating with fondant is so important to their business and it’s not a typical technique, it’s been difficult to find employees who can decorate cakes with fondant.
“A lot of people are used to working with buttercream,” Kristen said. “Fondant is more stable, but you have to understand how it works and how it dries. It looks a lot like Play-Doh. It has more body than buttercream. A lot people like the taste. My daughter loves it. Personally, I don’t like the taste, and I’m not a fondant decorator. My biggest thing is the baking.”
Currently, The Painted Batter has two other two employees. One person helps with baking and the front counter. The other is at the front counter and is learning some cake-decorating techniques.
The biggest “problem” is turning away orders. Lineberry said they refuse 15 jobs a week. “We require two-weeks notice for a cake. Some people call today and want the cake tomorrow. We simply can’t do that.”
A new business wrinkle is The Painted Batter Express: a dessert truck.
They purchased a camper for $1,700, using the Young’s personal line of credit at Truliant.
They project that the dessert truck will cost about $4,000. They are in the process of painting it, they’ve cut a hole in it for a window and it will hold a couple of fridges. Everything sold from the truck will be made in advance.
After being in business a little more than a year, Lineberry and Young are happy that by each of them working 55-60 hours a week they are able to pay their employees, pay their bills and they each make a little money.
Their current shop has a small kitchen. They are exploring the opportunity of having a larger kitchen in a different location.
But that probably won’t happen in time to help with the next deluge.
“Christmas is going to insane,” Young said.