April 20, 2024

Juliana Donnelly’s plan was on schedule.
Graduate high school early. Check.
Take classes at State College of Florida. Check. Save for culinary college with earnings from The Pastry Corner (facebook.com/thepastrycorner.custombakery), her successful online cake baking business. Check.
But the enterprising Parrish 17-year-old received advice that changed everything.
“I showed my work to pastry chefs I know,” said Juliana, a graduate of Palmetto’s Educational Harbor Christian School. “And they said, ‘You don’t need (culinary college) to be in this industry. Just work on your craft, expand your portfolio.’”
It was music to her ears.
“I like to have fun with cakes.”
Juliana discovered that fun while baking at home during the pandemic, then gifting her uniquely decorated creations to appreciative neighbors and friends. Buoyed by their response and offers to pay, she knew she was onto something.
“So I started the business and put it on Facebook,” Juliana said.
That was October 2020.
Since then she has served nearly 300 customers and estimates 25 percent are regular clientele. She keeps a budget, buys supplies wholesale and is self-sufficient. Parents Leo and Tina haven’t had to loan her a dime.
Juliana can devote six to 12 hours on her handiwork, too.
“My inspiration comes from looking at different things, pictures, other people’s work. I take notes, come up with a new idea. I’ll do a sketch and talk about it with the customer, make it perfect for them.”
Her plan now?
“Continue saving, start traveling at 18, find internships in France or Italy and bakeries where I can study, learn their cultures and perfect myself before I open my own store.”
• A salute to Lieutenant Nicholas Pruitt and Detectives Tyler Ackerman, Christopher Foy and Imran Din, Distinguished Service Award recipients from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. The quartet successfully defused a situation last June involving two roommates being threatened by a suspect with a sword. The lawmen set up a perimeter and, after one roommate escaped, rather than wait for the SWAT team, they created a distraction, entered the residence and arrested the suspect who was unarmed.
Mike Estes is 39. Again.
Chris Wille, too.
• Good luck to Amber Henry on her smoothie and juice bar, Lava Nutrition, opening 10 a.m. Saturday at 7457 Manatee Ave. W.
• That wily ol’ stork is en route at New Year’s for Olivia and Philip Knowles, the Bradenton native who makes his official PGA Tour debut this week at the Fortinet Championship in Napa, California.
• Uh, oh! Sean Felton hit the Big 5-0!
• The closing of Costantino Body Shop evoked this memory from more than two decades ago.
I’d been in Bradenton a short time and was trying to to sell my old pickup with 100,000-plus miles on it. Chris Costantino said to park it out front of their shop.
It sold the next day.
Vin’s People runs Sundays. Email Vin Mannix at vinspeople@gmail.com. Or call 941-962-5944. Twitter: @vinmannix.


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