For Madison Samples, “Maw Maw” lives on in the kitchen.
The high school junior stood by her late great-grandmother for years, learning how to make an oven offer its best gifts — a red velvet or coconut cake, a pie, or any number of sweets that make dieters abandon self-discipline for delight.
She wants to start a bakery in her hometown inspired by her Maw Maw’s teachings when she’s done with culinary studies at a local technical school.
Mark and Anne Lackey, owners of HireSmart Cares, want to see Madison and other youth find business success. So, they’re spreading plenty of seed money for future businesses, including a sizable scholarship for Madison, the first-place winner in her hometown “MadicoMaker” entrepreneurial contest. Those funds will help the baker get her business going when she’s ready.
“The scholarship through MadicoMakers helped me by giving me some money guaranteed to start my business after college,” said Madison. “It may not be enough to completely pay for my starting cost, but it is a good start that I would not have had without the scholarship. I’m grateful for the money that will guarantee a start to my business.”
Of course, Mark and Anne are well-versed in business startup challenges. Mark was a business owner by age 12. He’s always looked for business ideas, and he’s the big-picture “wouldn’t-this-be-cool?” dreamer of HireSmart, while his wife, Anne, is the “make-it-happen” half of the duo.
It’s a prolific pair. The Lackeys own seven successful businesses and want to pass what they’ve learned to the next generation while giving a financial boost to young entrepreneurs like Madison aiming to find a place in the world.
Madison is laying the groundwork for the bakery while still in high school, studying culinary arts at the Broad River College and Career Academy in Danielsville, Georgia. She’ll continue those studies at Athens Tech after high school.
“I don’t want to go to a university because I don’t feel like I need that, but I want to go to Athens Tech, because they have a really good culinary program,” she said. “And then I want to open up a bakery in the county.”
The teen said she sees a need for her Maw Maw’s Bakery in her hometown.
“Madison County only has a few actual stand-alone bakeries, and most of the sweet stuff in the county would be at places like Ingles,” said Madison. “You need homemade bakeries where you would get things like your grandma’s or something. So I wanted to take my baking skills and apply it to the county.”
The future business owner said her red velvet cake is tough to resist.
“My all-time favorite would be red velvet cake because it’s so good,” she said. “It’s my favorite thing personally to eat, so it’s my favorite to make, too.”
“Maw Maw” passed away in 2021. Madison, who first began learning to bake at age 8, said she wants to honor her great-grandmother’s memory with her business.
“When I got the chance to do the (MadicoMakers) competition, I wanted to dedicate it towards her since she was my inspiration,” she said.
Madison County Chamber of Commerce Director Anna Strickland, who has featured Madison’s baking at Chamber events, said HireSmart’s support of young entrepreneurs is heartwarming and a good investment in the next generation.
“The Chamber is proud to provide a platform for business leaders to support the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Strickland. “We are excited that HireSmart has decided to invest in the future of our business community through their support of this program.”
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