Mitzi Biggins has been baking her entire life. The Alleghany native enjoys taking a variety of individual ingredients, mixing them together, subjecting the mixture to heat, and then seeing a customer enjoy the new creation. This October she decided to channel her passion for food and people into a business venture, Ms. Mitzi’s Bakery. In hindsight it is clear that Mitzi’s life journey has set her up for success.
Mitzi grew up just outside of Sparta. As is the case with many young people, she heeded the siren call to experience life outside her childhood home and ended up in California at age 17. One day, a friend came up with free tickets to Disneyland. They spent the day at the park where Mitzi met a young man from nearby Anaheim, Dan Biggins. After a year in California, Mitzi decided it was time to head home to Sparta. Dan came with her and they have been married for the last 34 years.
In 2000, Mitzi, began a culinary course through Wilkes Community College. It seemed a natural fit given her love of cooking. When her father became terminally ill, she had to drop out of the program to help with her dad. She then spent some time working with the Allegany County Chamber of Commerce. And many Alleghany residents may remember Mitzi from her ten years as the owner and operator of All Things Catering. These experiences, along with helping Dan with his business, Roupe Brothers Electric, Heating and Plumbing, have given Mitzi and unique skill set to launch a business. But, starting a new business always comes with challenges.
First is the challenge of starting a retail business in a small community. With a population of roughly 11,000 people, Alleghany County presents a retail business with a small customer base. Second, her business is currently home-based. While working from home can create trials, Mitzi is quick to point out that Martha Stewart got her start working out of her basement. Finally, Mitzi realizes that her product line contains items that may be new to some residents. One of her favorite items is Baklava. Since some people aren’t familiar with the Mediterranean dish, it is one of Mitzi’s staples when sharing samples with various organizations.
Even though she is faced with myriad challenges, Mitzi has well defined business goals. She envisions growing into a Main Street business with repeat customers who feel satisfied and valued. She plans to launch a gluten-free product line. The Small Business Center of Wilkes Community College is helping guide her through the business end of her enterprise through classes, and individual, one on one business counseling. And she has her eyes set on developing a customer base that extends beyond Alleghany County. Luna Marketing, an Alleghany based marketing business, will help Mitzi develop her marketing strategy.
A recent exciting development for Mitzi is an invitation to setup a display in Williams and Sonoma. This national chain based in California, sells kitchenware and home furnishings. Mitzi will be at the Winston Salem location on December 17 from noon until 3:00 pm in the Hanes Mall.
Baking is a fitting metaphor for how small communities like Alleghany County creates economic vitality. The mixing of familiar, perhaps even common, individual ingredients to create something new doesn’t just apply to baking cakes – it describes what it takes to grow our local economy. Both require experimentation and innovation to reach a broader audience.
Mitzi Biggins is doing more than baking delicious cakes and pastries. She is modeling how to take smart risks and test new ideas. It is a trait that is Absolutely Alleghany.
For current pricing or to place orders, call Mitzi at 336-830-3735.
Visit her Facebook page at Ms. Mitzi’s Bakery