Mary Albanese Chappell toiled for countless hours in July baking cookies, cupcakes and tarts for the Arts and Crafts festival in downtown Syracuse.
Owner of Sweet Endings Bakeshop in Jamesville, Chappell filled the third weekend of July selling Italian cookies and other pastries at a festival booth.
Along with her husband Charles, she established Sweet Endings Bakeshop in January. Recently she cut back from full-time hours to work three days a week as an insurance underwriter at RMTS LLC, and three more days--and most nights -- whipping up treats in her commercial kitchen.
"I knew going into it, if I had to work till midnight every night and weekends, that's what I have to do," said Chappell, 52. "I do whatever I have to do to get the job done."
Until this spring, Chappell rented use of local church kitchens to fill orders of cookies and cupcakes. That's when she and Charles opened the doors of Sweet Endings' Jamesville storefront. Neither wife nor husband could pinpoint an exact date they started to let in the public or when Chappell, who has considered herself a professional baker for 20 years, made her first sale.
But those aren't the kinds of details she pays attention to.
She began to live her passion when she conceived the bakery business in January and decided to commit money and more time to selling her baked goods, said Charles, who is his wife's business manager and self-proclaimed biggest fan.
"She enjoys cooking, but she loves baking," he said. Charles, too, knows a little bit about running a business. He was a top executive in his family's E.C. Chappell and Sons Inc. chain of department stores until the family sold to Bon-Ton in 1994.
Chappell, who left Le Moyne College in 1977 just three classes short of a bachelor's degree in English, has been in the kitchen from an early age, she said.