Middle-aged Linden baker opens cake gallery as she fulfills her dream
By Naomi Marshall-
British writer, Clive Staples Lewis once said: “You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.” For some it is merely a quote but for Debra Richmond, Linden’s renowned baker, it is a reminder that you can achieve anything regardless of your age.
At age 55, Richmond achieved her lifelong goal of becoming an entrepreneur. Today, at age 58, she is the proprietor of Debra’s Delight – a ‘cake gallery’ that has been providing delicious, personalized cakes and satisfactory customer service in Linden, Region 10 for over three years.
Richmond hails from Victory Valley, Wismar, where she grew up in an extended family that consisted of numerous bakers from whom she learned to bake.
“I grow up in a home that cooks a lot and always had a lot of bakers. My family was big and I grow up knowing my parents and grandparents always cooking, so that was imparted in me,” Richmond recalled.
After completing her secondary education at the Linden Foundation Secondary School, Richmond became a stay at home mom after giving birth to four children.
However, when she separated from her children’s father, the single parent mother began searching for ways in which she can provide for herself and children.
“I was thinking what to do that can really support myself and family and this thought came to me to start baking and selling cake and pastries,” she said.
So in 1994, Richmond made use of the teaching she got from her family and would begin selling on the roadside at Wismar, Linden.
Richmond remembered being among the first group of people to bake and sell pastries on the roadside at Wismar, and for her business was bright, well at least for a while.
Following the temporary closure of the bauxite company, the young mother felt the impact, though indirectly.
“Everything was going nice but then after the bauxite company close down business got slow in Linden, so business was not like before,” she remembered.
Luckily in 2003, Richmond was given the opportunity to migrate to St. Maarten.
While living in St. Maarten, the mother of four worked as a cashier at Subways, and worked her way up to the managerial post during a 10-year period (2003-2012). She also worked at KFC in the nights.
Because of her passion for baking and decorating cakes, she took part in a number of baking courses to enhance her craft. Richmond would also begin baking cake for persons in her community to get an extra dollar.
After completing a total of eight baking courses in 2015, Richmond decided to officially launch her cake business, Debra’s Delight in St. Maarten in April of the said year.
She related: “I named it Debra’s Delight because I always like this scripture, ‘Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desire of your heart’ and that was always my desire.”
In order to promote her business, Richmond would share photos of her cake designs on social media. This not only caught the attention of persons in St. Maarten, but that of Lindeners too.
Upon receiving information that the market exists for personalized cake designing services in Linden, Richmond jumped at the opportunity to establish a business in her home town, Linden.
“After some years in St. Maarten I decided to come back home because I was getting the impression that the type of work that I normally do was not being done much in Linden at the time. There were only a few people doing it so a lot of persons had to be going to Georgetown to get their personalized cakes done,” she explained.
In 2017, Richmond migrated back to Linden Guyana, where she established her business, Debra’s Delight, in August of the said year with the aim of “bringing something different to the table” for the community.
Presently, Debra’s Delight not only offers personalized cakes but breakfast, pastries, desserts, fondant classes and cake classes.
Richmond also began manufacturing Marshmallow Fondant in September 2020.
According to Richmond, the by-product has been certified by Guyana’s Food and Drug Handling Department and is available in Jermaine & Family Supermarket in Linden and Guyana Marketing Corporation in Georgetown.
Richmond got her heart’s desire of having her own cake gallery at age 52 and was motivated by life story of KFC founder, Colonel Sanders whose success came in his 60s.
“I was motivated when I learned that KFC’s founder, Colonel Sanders started the business at age 65. I was amazed and I told myself that I am not too old to start my business,” Richmond explained.
The entrepreneur’s advice to persons, is to never give up on their dreams.
“Some people get their breakthrough early; some people get it late. If you have a dream, never give up on it because sometimes when you least expect it to come through, it’s right there,” she encouraged.
Currently, Richmond is preparing to expand her business. Her hope is to turn Debra’s Delight into a drive-through business offering displayed menu, easier ordering system, more personalized services, and something new for the people of Linden.
“This is not the end; I have a vision and a plan and it takes time…This is my fourth year and I have developed and I thank God for that,” she said.
Persons interested in contacting Richmond can do so on 4446396 or 6637384.