SHERIDAN — In Italy, social and family life often revolves around food. For Marissa Logan, this love of cooking and family started in the kitchen with her mother and grandmother.
Recipes from Logan’s great-grandmother were passed down before her death, and Logan’s mother began selling cannoli as a side business. After all, children are expensive.
“Then as I got older and had my own kids, kids are expensive, so I started doing the same thing,” Logan said.
While working full time as a cake decorator, Logan eventually decided to sell cannoli full time and work for herself.
Cannoli Bliss is already a fully operational business, but that didn’t stop Logan from signing up to participate in the Sheridan Start-Up Challenge. Currently, Logan operates the business from a food trailer, but his goal is to open a full-fledged Italian bakery and expand regionally or even nationally.
“I’ve already learned a lot from the Start-Up Challenge,” Logan said. “They’ve already guided me to better and bigger ideas, and helped me with finance and marketing. I have already established partnerships with other local businesses. The goal is to become better known locally and soon across the country!
Logan also knows his niche. She describes her desserts as “upscale” and “luxury.”
“The desserts you receive from us are made from the finest quality ingredients and with lots of love,” she said. “Our values are about family and experiencing life through food. There is no greater strength than community and family.
However, growing her business is not without its challenges. Logan said that now means meeting demand. She hopes that by opening a full bakery, she can hire more staff and expand into direct-to-consumer and wholesale.
Logan will be presenting at the Start-Up Challenge on November 1 at the WYO Performing Arts and Education Center. Challenge winners will become eligible to apply for the $100,000 seed fund. Locals will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite Start-Up Challenge finalists; the winner of this prize will receive $2,000.
This year’s challenge attracted 61 applicants, a 50% increase from 2021, organizers said. After reviewing the entries, 12 plans were selected and each semi-finalist had the opportunity to pitch their ideas and meet the judges in person. Six finalists were then selected by the jury. These six finalists have spent the past month working with IMPACT Sheridan to develop their plans and respond to questions and feedback provided during the semi-final. Along with the possibility of seed funding, Pitch Night will allow everyone to pitch their ideas to a live audience.
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