Watch CBS News

Lawrence bakery owner builds successful business one 'heavenly' cake at a time

Lawrence bakery owner builds successful business one "heavenly" cake at a time
Lawrence bakery owner builds successful business one "heavenly" cake at a time 02:06

LAWRENCE - Seven years ago Danerys Mazara opened up her bakery, Sweet Grace Heavenly Cakes, named after her daughter.

But getting here was a rocky path. She originally moved to Puerto Rico from the Dominican Republic when she was 5, eventually moving to Lawrence, living in an attic and not knowing any English and working temporary jobs.

"When she [her daughter] was a baby and we had all these difficult times and I was looking at her and she was crying one day, it was like 'oh my sweet Grace, my sweet Grace'," Mazara told WBZ-TV.

In 2009 she was pregnant after seven miscarriages with a high-risk pregnancy, her husband had been laid off and they were bankrupt. After having baby Grace, she went back to work to pay off their debts but they were still struggling.

"One day my mother came to my house and she was like 'I know you're having a difficult time. Take this $35 and go and buy groceries," Mazara said.

But instead, she used money to learn and make her niece's flan recipe and sell it to her coworkers. She burnt it the first time, crying over the mistake. But she didn't give up, eventually making a version she was proud enough to sell.

"I sold five small ones that day and I did the same thing the next day, and the next day and then at the end of the month I was getting money to pay my bills, to help my husband, to get gas for the car, it was very amazing," she said.

So amazing that she realized she had a business on her hands. But she stayed in her job, working hard to make money. Until she realized she was missing the important moments of Grace growing up. So she went back to baking, with the idea of being a business owner so she could control her hours and time spent with her family. She was introduced to a woman who taught her how to make cakes and the rest is cakestory.

"This is a lot of work. This is a lot of effort and if you don't have someone who is supporting your back it's very difficult. Sometimes you need someone to remind you, you can do it," she explained.

That someone was the network of mentors, family members and community members who helped her learn how to start a business. The woman who taught her to make cakes, she eventually hired her at the bakery. 

"Never give up. Never give up if you have an idea," Mazara said.

She now gives back to her community, employing 18 people all from Lawrence, all Latinos and all a family. We were even there when she honored one of her employees with an award. Her goal now is to help other women like herself, start their own businesses and become successful.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.