College News

The taste of success is sweet

08.16.2012Students/Graduates

Mykal Harp is not new to the world of business, but when she decided to open her coffee house and bakery, Dandalia, she needed help.

She found that help from the Lee County Small Business Center at Central Carolina Community College. According to Harp, the SBC pointed her in the right direction with "good advice, a lot of contacts, and a lot of ideas to pursue."

Before Harp opened Dandalia Bakery and Coffee House, she worked in banking for 12 years and was an executive assistant to CEOs who ran major corporations. While she worked in the corporate world, she pursued her hobby of baking, a hobby she learned from her mother as a child. Harp always loved the precision of baking balanced with the creativity that she can add with different flavors and decorations.

Harp was laid off from her job in January of 2011 and began to think of ways to incorporate her baking skills into a business. In a matter of months, Harp had her home kitchen certified as a North Carolina domestic kitchen. She launched a website to showcase her mouth-watering baked goods.

After the word spread about Harp's delicious culinary creations, she began to make desserts for Carolina Trace Country Club, opening doors for her new business. Other businesses around Sanford, such as Added Accents and Hallmark, began to request Harp's cupcakes be sold in their stores.

Even before Harp decided to open her store, she noticed that Sanford lacked a coffee house with a "home away from home" feel like the coffee houses that she frequented when she lived in Portland, Or. When Harp realized that she wanted to open her own bakery, she felt it was important to create a space that the community could feel comfortable in.

The combination of a bakery and coffee house with a storefront in a busy area of Sanford has paid off for the new entrepreneur, and everyone agrees that both the coffee and the cupcakes are delicious.

When Harp decided to start her business, she looked around Sanford for a support system that helped emerging businesses and was pleased to find the Small Business Center.

"It's always easy to come up with an idea to start a business but, really, you need someone to help you figure out the next step," Harp said.

Dale Fey, SBC director for CCCC in Lee County, noted, "Ms. Harp was one of my first clients. I was able to direct her to Project Gate and also the Rural Entrepreneurship through Action Learning (REAL) class, two fantastic programs available through the SBC."

Dandalia Bakery is located at 1907 Bragg St., Sanford. Find out more about it at www.dandalia.com or www.facebook.com/dandaliabakery.