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Md. Sisters Start 'Furlough' Cheesecake Business After Being Laid Off During Government Shutdown

WALDORF, Md. (WJZ) — A pair of Maryland sisters went from being laid off from the government shutdown to growing a business that's getting sweeter by the day.

How? Furlough cheesecake.

Oxon Hill natives Nickie Howard and Jaqi Wright not only had the right attitude approaching the layoffs-- they also had the right ingredients.

The shutdown locked out 800,000 federal workers. The sisters from Prince George's County were two of them, and they found a way to turn the country's longest government shutdown from a negative to a profit.

"Baking is about making people smile so I didn't just want to do any old thing. I wanted to do something that would make somebody smile," Howard said.

Both out of a job, that ambition to make somebody smile started from a grin, to millions joining their passion for homemade cheesecake.

Furlough Cheesecake started with 100 orders to appearing on the Ellen Show. The popular talk show host even gave them $20,000 to start up their business.

"Whew. We can't believe it. I'm still kind of shaking my head looking at you trying to figure out if this is real,"

Howard and Wright said they had over 1,000 orders in their first week of business. They not only have original cheesecake, but sweet potato as well.

Wright said even though this is the hardest she's ever worked in her life, the best part isn't the money they've earned or that they no longer have to get up early for their old government jobs.

"It's a slice of smile for real. It just makes you go, mmm mmm mmm,"

Those smile slices will be available online and in Walmart Stores starting August 18.

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