Two Baltimore sisters used the time they had freed up during the government shutdown to create a cheesecake business, and now they have inked a deal with retail giant Walmart.
According to Baltimore station WJLA, while 800,000 other federal workers were locked out of their jobs and left with no income during the longest government shutdown in history, Nikki Howard and Jaqi Wright concocted a sweet solution to their financial woes.
“Cheesecake has been my weakness since I can remember,” Howard told NBC Washington back in January, while still in the midst of the shutdown.
“Our mother said, ‘You know what, girl?’ You could sell these cheesecakes’ and ding ding ding ding went off in my mind,” recalls Wright about how they came up with The Furlough Cheesecake.. “And it’s like, we can sell these cheesecakes.”
The sisters say just in their first week they had 100 orders from customers all over the country and soon their story caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres. When they made a video appearance on the show, the notoriously generous talk show host surprised the ladies with a $20,000 order for a single cheesecake.
A week later DeGeneres received her high priced dessert and from that point the world took notice. In fact, they got so much attention that soon after going viral they had to rent industrial kitchen space to keep up with orders and were able to quit their government jobs altogether.
This August, Walmart will begin stocking mini versions of their cheesecakes in about 100 stores in the Washington, D.C. area. The baked goods will also be featured at Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club.