Pathway Lending Success Story: Sugar Mamas KnoxvilleTaking Her Home-Based Business to a Main Street Mainstay

After years of frequenting the local farmers market, Hannah McConnell turned her lifelong passion for baking into a home-based business and opened a booth for “Sugar Mama’s” on Market Square.

From there, McConnell sold baked goods at special events hosted by local craft breweries. Blame it on the honey cookies, but Sugar Mama’s quickly found success. Instead of making the jump to wholesale, McConnell decided to open a retail bakery.

“Staying involved in the community and watching people enjoy what I make is the best part of what I do,” says McConnell. “I couldn’t give that up.” Their time selling at local breweries had instilled a love for local beer, so they decided to serve craft beer alongside baked goods.

Hannah attended workshops and received one-on-one coaching at the SBDC in Knoxville. When she was ready to fund her new venture, they sent her to Pathway Lending.

“From the start we liked Pathway and their performance record,” says McConnell.
“They make things so easy for small business owners.”

Their $20,000 microloan covered build-out costs like a new grease trap, ventilation hood, sink, and other general expenses like ingredients, paint, and furniture. “As a female business owner, it’s important to stand your ground,” says McConnell. “When most people come in, they don’t guess that I am the owner – they assume I’m just another girl working the bar. But I did the homework and all the research. I have eight employees and I run a successful business. Trust me, I know my stuff.”

Next time you’re in Knoxville, stop by Sugar Mama’s Bakery for fresh butter cookies, homemade pizza or quiche, and of course, a local craft beer.

Sugar Mamas Baker - Knoxville female business owner

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If you have a client in mind that we may be able to help with funding and education, head over to our Loan Referral form.