Distant family members and friends pining for their loved ones in Flagstaff can send them a home-baked treat—and get an immediate photo to capture the memory—through Deborah McGlothlin’s new business, Pinecone Pastries.
After McGlothlin’s two children, Sarah and Jack, moved away from home, she decided to use her newfound time to send them care packages comprised of their favorite “mom-baked” goods. Their excitement inspired McGlothlin’s plunge into entrepreneurship through Pinecone Pastries, which strives to bring others the same connection felt by this mother and her children through the transfer of her homemade baked goods.
McGlothlin’s mission is to deliver a “fresh-baked hug” to Flagstaff residents—and especially students at Northern Arizona University—from their loved ones.
“In my attempts to reach out to my kids as they’re away, I’ve been finding opportunities to send them little treats [and] care packages,” McGlothlin says. “I thought, ‘I love doing that for my kids and I bet there are parents with kids here at NAU who feel the same way.’”
Packages range from $12.50 for a half order to $20 for a dozen and can be delivered for any occasion including birthdays, final exams or an impromptu gift. Orders can be placed through the Pinecone Pastries website, which accepts payments by card or PayPal, and can usually be fulfilled within 24 to 48 hours.
This time frame allows McGlothlin to not only bake, package and personalize the goodies with a note from the sender, but also to deliver them. Upon delivery, she will text the sender a photo of the recipient with their package as a way of bringing them together in spite of the distance between them, which she says is her favorite part of the business.
“For family members and friends who are far away, it just gives that person a connection with their student or family member,” she says. “It’s such a nice personal touch and you get it right away. People are really enjoying that side of the delivery. It’s fun to do!”
McGlothlin communicates with both the sender and recipient of the pastries throughout the process in order to find an appropriate delivery time and location. Right now, she is able to deliver almost anywhere within city limits, including the NAU campus.
“I’ve been trying to market this toward college students, but I’m open to anybody in the Flagstaff area interested in baked goodies," McGlothlin says.
As a full-time U.S. Forest Service employee, McGlothlin has devoted her spare time to launching and now managing Pinecone Pastries. She now spends her weekends managing the business and her evenings baking and delivering her pastries.
Although baking is far different from the projects she runs remotely for the Forest Service, McGlothlin loves the dimension Pinecone Pastries has added to her work life.
“It’s just relaxing and kind of my comfort zone to be in the kitchen, fixing a batch of something,” she says, adding it allows her to use the creative side of the brain more often.
More than just a creative process, establishing Pinecone Pastries included registering as a limited liability company (LLC).
“I had no experience in the business side of things,” she admits, and has been teaching herself small business ownership practices. “It’s been a real challenge, but fun to do something different.”
She received all the city, county and state requirements needed to sell food made in a home kitchen, and now holds certificates in both food handling and home-baked and confectionery goods. Although McGlothlin shares the certifications of any professional bakery in Arizona, she prefers to be considered a source of comfort food, rather than of flawless delicacies.
“I’m certainly not a professional baker. I’ve always just loved simple things that I would do for my family, like any parent out there,” she says. “I’m not a baker that will be able to give you a super fancy cake that looks perfect, but I can make made-from-scratch, mom-baked goodness that kids would like—that they would remember their moms making at home.”
Consequently, McGlothlin sticks to the staples. She currently offers cookies, cupcakes, brownies, Rice Krispies treats and muffins.
“I’ve picked up a limited menu of things I thought would be most requested by college kids,” she says.
In this early stage of the business’s development, she is utilizing mostly traditional recipes, with plans to accommodate allergies and other food preferences in the future, if enough customers request them.
“For now, I’m sticking to the normal baked stuff with flour and lots of sugar,” she says.
Although Pinecone Pastries is not a full-time business venture, McGlothlin is passionate about the business; it has already transformed her lifestyle.
“Of course I want to make a little money out of it eventually, but it’s really more about connecting with people, bringing smiles to their faces,” she says. “I’m just really enjoying the personal aspect of it.”
To learn more about Pinecone Pastries or to place an order, visit www.pineconepastries.com, or check out the business on Facebook and Instagram.