Renel Turner hadn’t planned on opening a boutique bakery when she made her first cake on New Year’s Eve of 2010. “I was watching the television show, Cake Boss, and was inspired to try making a cake,” she says. “It was just enough to get me hooked.”
Here’s how she evolved from a novice home baker to owning Nelly’s Treats – a sought-after specialty bakery in Cohoes, NY – and how a SmartLoan from Pursuit is helping Renel define her dreams and move forward with confidence.
Creating a business, cake by cake
After her first cake-based adventure, Renel devoted her spare time to developing recipes and perfecting techniques, building her skills through online videos and a cake-decorating class at a local craft shop. Over the next decade, she sold baked goods by special order while she also ran a daycare business and raised her daughter – the light of her life and her constant inspiration.
“My daughter keeps me going,” Renel says. “She’s nine years old now, so she’s at an age where baking is fun but what’s even more interesting is tweaking recipes for new flavor combinations. I learn so much from her!”
A new storefront brings joy to the community
In July 2021, Renel formalized her business and went all-in on baking, opening a retail storefront with an array of baked goods and beverages – Banana Pudding Cake, Strawberry Crunch, and Cookies & Cream cakes are top sellers. She hired two employees to help with sales and service while she bakes and manages the business.
Renel has also diversified revenue by offering baking classes. “We offer classes for children and adults and it’s so much fun to help others find joy in baking,” she says.
A need for financial stability
Renel explains her motivation for seeking a small business loan, saying, “I got injured around Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest times of the year, and I couldn’t bake for several days. When you realize how much of your business depends on what you produce with your own two hands, that was the ‘aha’ experience that made me realize that I needed more financial stability for the business.”
Until that point, Renel had bootstrapped Nelly’s Treats – a point that added stress to an otherwise happiness-filled business.
“The idea of going to a bank for a loan was intimidating, so I hadn’t applied before,” Renel says. She’d heard about Pursuit through networking events and from other business owners. While scrolling through Facebook one day, she landed on information about a webinar on small business loans by Pursuit Senior Business Development Officer Keri Pratico.
“I attended the webinar and right after, I reached out to Keri,” Renel says.
A SmartLoan offers an easy application and fast financing
After reviewing potential loans with Keri, Renel decided on Pursuit’s SmartLoan as a great option, with loans between $10,000 and $100,000 and affordable repayment terms.
“Working with Keri and Pursuit was wonderful,” Renel says. “The fear and intimidation that I anticipated just evaporated. The process was easy and everyone was supportive. I had funds in the bank in about two weeks.”
Renel’s working capital loan is already making an impact on her business, enabling her to address immediate needs, like purchasing equipment to expand her offerings, while also giving her the breathing room to plan long-term business goals.
She says, “As small business owners, we’re so busy just keeping up with the day-to-day that we overlook our longer-term financial stability. Having funds in-hand is essential to that.”
The future looks sweet for Nelly’s Treats
“Now, I can take the time to envision our future,” Renel says. “I’m coming up with more products and plans to add more classes and events, and I want to expand our staff so we can get into our community more. I couldn’t do that before.”
As the business grows, recognition of Renel’s positive impact on the community is growing, too. Around the time that she found out about her loan approval, she was also notified that she’s a 2024 YWCA of Northeastern New York Empowerment Award recipient!
Pursuit business loans and line of credit: Make your dreams a reality
Renel has this advice for other entrepreneurs: “Follow your heart and your gut, including finding the right lender – that’s what Pursuit has been for me. This SmartLoan has lifted my confidence in myself as a business owner. I’m so grateful, because this has enabled me to create a stronger foundation for everything that I love to do – baking, teaching others, nurturing creativity and joy, and having a positive impact in my community.”
Pursuit offers more than 15 small business loans and a line of credit for small businesses throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. Explore our financing options, then contact us to learn more about how we can help you.