Farmville Favorite: Maria Hamilton
Each month I highlight a “Farmville Favorite”, someone who is an advocate for Farmville—working hard to make it a better place. Who should be next month’s Farmville Favorite? Email your nominations to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local Baker Finds Sweet Spot in Farmville
Sixteen years ago when Maria Hamilton moved to Farmville from West Virginia with the man she would marry, she had no idea that the town would become a permanent part of her life. But as it often does, life was holding a sweet surprise up its sleeve.
“I honestly didn’t think we were going to be here long. I thought this would just be a stop on the way to somewhere else,” Maria says, as she leans against her brand new kitchen island.
Both she and now husband, Jeff, took teaching positions with the Cumberland County school system, and slowly began to fall in love with the small, close-knit community. After the birth of their first child, Maria transitioned to the new challenge of stay-at-home mom.
About four years ago, Maria began to fall in love with something else—baking.
“It really just evolved,” says Maria. “Initially, I would bake things to bring for a birthday party at school, or someone would ask me to make something and I would do it.”
It quickly became obvious that what had started as a hobby was destined to be a fulfilling and profitable calling for Maria as she began her own business and gained a loyal following of local customers including larger clients like Centra Southside Community Hospital.
Today Maria’s Sweet Creations is thriving, turning out scores of delicious one-of-a-kind cupcakes, cakes and almost any other type of dessert you can imagine.
“I love how happy it makes me. I love how happy it makes other people,” Maria says laughing. “One thing I was never anticipating was how happy people get over cake or even just a dozen cupcakes.”
It goes without saying that Maria is a firm believer in the uplifting power of a little sugar and butter. She laughs as she recalls an interaction with a potential client who was inquiring if she could make healthier versions of her trademark sweet delights.
“I told him I could if he really wanted me too but my thing was definitely sugar,” she says.
Running her own business has given Maria not only the precious opportunity to have time with her three children, ages 7 to 11, but has also further solidified the family’s bond to the community.
“I have this one client. I’ve baked cakes for her bridal shower, her wedding and her first baby shower,” says Maria. “The baking business allows me to be a part of the most special, happy times in people’s lives.”
The town itself has responded enthusiastically to Maria’s venture. “It’s been a great place to start a business. People have been overwhelmingly supportive and kind,” Maria says.
“I also try to shop local whenever I can. I buy my eggs from local families and my flour from Miller’s Country Store. When I’m able to, or they are available, I try to buy my fruits locally as well,” Maria adds.
It’s clear that Maria’s baking business and her family have truly found a sweet spot in Farmville. Beyond cooking, there is plenty of fun for Maria’s family. She describes a typical holiday weekend for her busy family earlier this month. It included attending the Longwood for the Visual Arts’ Winter Wonderland Family Workshop, enjoying the Christmas Parade downtown, caroling with the local Girl Scout troop at the nursing home and one of her daughter’s performing in Waterworks Players’ holiday pantomime, May the Farce Be With You.
“We do love it here,” says Maria. “We go down the street and we know people. We have no family here but, in many ways, we do.”