A Farewell (for now)

This has been a tough week for me.

I have been operating my at-home bakery business under an exemption from the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets as a “home processor” since April 2006.

After I attested that I was still operating the business this year, I received a call this week to cease operating Emoticakes as a home processor. In January 2013, they changed their policy, prohibiting a home processor from making specialty items such as birthday cakes, per order. Further, they disallow selling directly to consumers from my home. As of this writing, I could still sell at “wholesale marketing or retail agricultural venues, which includes farms, but excludes food stands that are not located on a farm or at an ag-related event.”

At this point, I’m weighing my options. Call it a cake-sabbatical.
If I’m to continue baking the custom cakes I’m known for, I’ll need to either create a wholly separate kitchen in my home (something we don’t have the space for), acquire my own commercial space and have it certified by the health department, or rent space from a certified commercial kitchen.

In the meantime, I hope you find inspiration on this site for your own creations. I hope to be back someday, making more delicious cakes!

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14 Responses to A Farewell (for now)

  1. by Mary Kay Khattak on July 19, 2013, 3:37 pm

    Sorry to hear Amy! Your cakes are gorgeous! I hope you find a way around this or another outlet for your creativity.

    Hope everything else is good with the kids and Scott!!!

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    • by Amy Dawson on August 2, 2013, 5:46 pm

      Thanks Mary Kay! Thanks for your kind note. We are all doing great – getting ready to head out west for 2 and half weeks on Sunday. I can’t wait!! I hope all is well with you and Mohammad and the kids too.

  2. by susan o'donnell on July 19, 2013, 7:37 pm

    ABSOLUTELY REDICULOUS. When will NYS stop hurting the small business owner and wake up? Almost every other state is small business friendly and allows for cottage industries to thrive from people’s homes. I am so sorry to hear you can no longer make and decorate cakes for people to purchase and enjoy. I hope you find an alternative way to allow people to support you and your art.

    • by Amy Dawson on August 2, 2013, 5:45 pm

      Thanks Susan. Your art comment is one to think about – I did start this business as a creative outlet, and always say it is my medium. Maybe I need to find a new medium :)

  3. by Leslie Gagne on July 20, 2013, 10:06 am

    I am so sorry to hear that you will be leaving us, but hopefully not for long.

    I used to rent commercial kitchen space, between the rent and insurance it became to costly.

    I hope you can come up with a solution real soon.

    I just hate the way states change their rules!

    • by Amy Dawson on August 2, 2013, 5:44 pm

      Thanks Leslie. I am bummed because one of the things that was perfect about this business was both not having to worry about paying high rent costs, and the ability to really control hours and multi-task for home things while cakes were baking. It is really frustrating when rules change – makes me wish they never were kind in the first place so I could have sorted the commercial space out years ago when I started the whole thing.

  4. by Lucy Dates on July 24, 2013, 4:30 am

    So sorry to hear that you had to stop making Emoticakes in your home! You are very creative and your cakes are delicious! New York State needs to examine this policy and support small home businesses!

    • by Amy Dawson on August 2, 2013, 5:42 pm

      Thanks Lucy. I appreciate your kind words about my cakes.

  5. by Sue on July 31, 2013, 6:15 am

    I’m so sorry — looking for someone to make a cake when I vacation in Watkins Glen next week — thought I had finally found a source. What lousy timing!

    • by Amy Dawson on August 2, 2013, 5:42 pm

      I’m so sorry! I wish I could have baked for you. Maybe I’ll have something sorted out by the next time you visit the area. Have a great trip!

  6. by Kathy Kramer on August 21, 2013, 9:07 pm

    Oh, I’m sorry to hear that these endless State regulations have reached you with their strangling tentacles! I’m being overly dramatic, I suppose, but I hate to see a fine, high-quality business like yours brought to a close by what are, to me, senseless & punitive regulations. I just looked at your website with the intention of ordering one of your delicious and creative cakes for my granddaughter’s 13th birthday. Last August, you made a terrific carrot cake for my 70th birthday and included a tribute to this same granddaughter in your bright decorations. Sigh… I’m disappointed and I wish you well and hope you find another avenue for your wonderful talents!

    • by Amy Dawson on August 22, 2013, 9:51 am

      Kathy, I’m so sorry that I can’t make a cake for your granddaughter! I remember making your 70th for you last year. I am still deciding what I will do – If I sort things out for next year’s celebrations I will most certainly be in touch with you. Thanks for your sweet note. And, please wish your granddaughter a Happy 13th!!

  7. by Karen Heinkel on September 18, 2013, 7:29 am

    Amy, I went on your website to order a cake for the Ithaca girls. I am very sad to read about the new state regualtions. Obviously, they have never had one of your cakes!!!!! I hope that that things will work out and you will be back in business soon. Keep the faith. We will miss your edible works of art.

    • by Amy Dawson on September 26, 2013, 10:40 am

      I am really sorry not to be able to bake for the girls too. Thanks for your support Karen!

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