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Colusa entrepreneur's dessert business growing fast
To learn more about Country Chique Delights, go to the company website, countrychiquedelights.com, or call 425-583-5653.
Tammy Llamas admits the vision she's cooked up is pretty grand.
But the Colusa woman has a product people that seem to like, she has landed a pretty big gig this week, and she even has a potential partner.
What she doesn't have is a kitchen.
Llamas recently launched Country Chique Delights, which offers specialized bite-sized desserts.
"The idea started in Washington, and, I guess, the home business started in Washington, too," said Llamas, who recently moved back to Colusa with her husband, Juan, and their two youngest children, ages 5 and 2, after four years in the Pacific Northwest.
"It was too much rain for me, and my husband was born and raised here, and we missed our friends and family," Llamas said.
Llamas was a foster child who came to Colusa in her teens.
She said she was fortunate to be placed with the Ayala family, who raised her into adulthood and are still a big part of her life.
The couple also has an 18-year-old son who is out of the house, and when they decided to have more children, Llamas became a homemaker.
"I have been a housewife for five years, and, honestly, I just wanted to do more," she said.
So she started to bake.
"And I started to make these treats, and everyone seemed to like them," she said.
"And people started requesting them for birthdays and anniversaries and other events."
Llamas said she had no background as a bakery chef, but said it came fairly natural to her.
Then the idea of running her own business started to grow.
With no real business background either, that is when she turned to the Internet. "I Google everything," she said.
Llamas developed a brand name, worked out packaging options, reviewed the laws and talked to the Colusa County Health Department.
Then she went to work.
"Valentine's Day was my first holiday Country Chique sold for, and it did amazingly well for having just a home business. I actually had to stop orders," Llamas said.
But part of her vision is marrying her baked goods with other specialty items such as jewelry. That is when she got in touch with Kristen Correa, whom she found on Facebook.
Correa, in turn, hooked her up with Louis Cairo's restaurant, and suddenly Llamas is baking desserts for the 350 expected guests at the NRA dinner on Saturday.
"It's like a whirlwind for me," Llamas said.
The situation, however, accentuated her need to be able to rent a commercial kitchen. She said she has approached some businesses, but has not had much luck so far.
She said the idea seems to be a bit foreign in Colusa, although she knows it has worked in other places. She is certain she will find someone willing to buy into the idea.
Of course, in time, she wants to have her own kitchen, but has no desire to have a storefront. She would rather have others sell what she makes.
Ultimately, she also wants to have an online store and, to complete the vision, her own line of sterling silver bracelets and similar goods that can be sold with her treats as a package.
"I have big plans, and that is why my husband looks at me like I am crazy," Llamas said. "But he has been very supportive.