Tucked into the new French market at Ogilvie station, a modest Chicago business has opened in the middle of the recession. It is not only surviving but thriving.
"We had $6,000 in sales in January 2009 and in December 2009. This month we expect to round out with about $70,000 dollars worth of sales," said Rev. Stan Sloan, Sweet Miss Givings, CEO.
Sweet Miss Givings sells decadent and generously portioned baked goods. The goodies are increasingly found around Chicagoland.
What's the secret ingredient to grow a business? Sweet Miss Givings is a business with a mission.
More than 50 percent of profits go to Chicago House. It provides housing and support to men, women and children living with HIV and AIDS.
Also, Sweet Miss Givings was created to help some Chicagoans get back to work.
Its bakery on the Near North Side makes hundreds of cookies, cupcakes and other baked goods each day.
Fifteen of the staffers are paid interns trying to get back on their feet. They will get training and a six-month internship.
"So many of our interns don't have degrees or GEDs. They've lived on the streets most of their lives and just hustled and haven't had anything they could put on their resumes," said Rev. Sloan.
Angel Magers is clean 20 months after battling addiction. She said there is training, experience and also support.
"This bakery has been like another home to me - people I can talk to when I need to if I'm going through something. I have somebody I can talk to," said Angel Magers, Sweet Miss Givings Intern.
Patrick Blunton struggled with drug abuse for thirty years. Now fifteen months clean Sweet Miss Givings gives him a critical line on his resume.
"It makes you want more. So this is just a stepping stone for me. It makes you want to do more once I do leave here," said Patrick Blunton, Sweet Miss Givings Intern.
"You buy some other baked good and you make one or two people richer. You buy our products, you make hundreds of people less poor," said Rev. Sloan.
Sweet Miss Givings just celebrated its first year in business.
Management and interns hope their products will tempt Chicagoans in need of a sweet and they hope their mission will keep customers coming back.