Baker Uses Airport to Expand Business
February 28, 2018
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    Miranda Wallace’s long days were well worth it when she made a birthday cake for an 8-year-old girl — a treat the girl normally couldn’t have because of her food allergy to corn products.

    “Her mom told me, ‘Normally we just get a cookie cake, and she just doesn’t eat it because she can’t,’” Wallace said. “That’s heartbreaking, and that’s what I deal with. I help people not miss out on those moments.”

    Wallace made her a corn-free cake as part of her company, Gluten-Freedom Bakery, which specializes in making baked dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free baked goods. She’s also starting to dive into egg-free and corn-free products.

    After baking from her home for more than three years under the Texas Cottage Food Law, Wallace moved her operation to a kitchen at the Victoria Regional Airport in September. Her business is not related to airport operations, which helps diversify the site, airport manager Lenny Llerena said.

    “It helps bring exposure to the airport and puts it in the eyes of the community,” he said.

    She uses a kitchen that was once a snack bar in the late 1990s or early 2000s, Llerena said. The space was vacant until Wallace took it over. It’s important to have businesses at an airport to give a good impression to those who visit the community, he said.

    “It gives you the view that there is something going on at that airport and things are happening,” he said. “This business could be located anywhere in town, and she chose us to do business with, and we’re happy about that.”

    Wallace, 29, makes deliveries, sells her products in local stores and takes online orders because she bakes at the airport instead of from her home. She was previously limited to where she could sell under the Texas Cottage Food Law. She sells her goods at both The Box Coffee Bar locations, Java Bean, Vela Farms and Kahve Coffee and Eats.

    Her dream is to open a bakery bistro.

    “Being here puts me one step closer,” she said.

    Although business at the airport is slow during the day, it works in Wallace’s favor because as a one-person operation, she makes deliveries and does the advertising and the baking by herself.

    Wallace has loved baking since she was young, but never thought it would become her career, she said. In 2011, she was diagnosed with celiac disease and stopped baking. A few years later, she had her son and quit working at Victoria Eye Center to stay home for a year. While at home, she started experimenting in the kitchen making gluten-free goods.

    “There were a lot of bad things that I made. It’s trial and error, trial and error,” she said. “(I) kept trying and kept trying and started getting better as the year came up.”

    When the year was over, she thought of the idea of opening her own business, because there weren’t many options for good tasting, gluten-free food in Victoria, she said.

    “I took off running with it. I did my first day of sales in May 2014. I was at the Goliad Market Days,” she said. “It just kind of took off from there. I had customers coming to me for all sorts of stuff.”

    As a mom of two and a small business owner, Wallace gets about four hours of sleep a night and wakes up at 2:30 a.m. to start baking. All of her products are made fresh daily.

    “I love what I do, and take everything day by day,” she said.