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Single mom credits city program with helping her launch her own business

Grace Kelli Bakery
Posted at 4:05 PM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 18:24:43-04

STATEN ISLAND — A Staten Island single mom who lives in a NYCHA development followed her dream and started an online bakery business.

She gave credit to a city program for helping her get started.

Sandra Mathis has always had a passion for baking. Now she's turned her love of sweets into an online business.

Mathis saw a flier posted at the Stapleton Houses in Staten Island. It was promoting a city program called REES — Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability.

The program teaches NYCHA residents how to start a business from scratch.

Mathis took part in the 13-week program open to NYCHA residents and New Yorkers living in Section 8 housing .

Her company is called Grace Kelli Cupcakes. She named it after her daughter, her biggest inspiration and motivation.

As s single mom working full time with a three year old, there were times she said she didn’t think she could make it.

“A lot of times, I was doing homework when my daughter was doing homework," Mathis said. "Don’t let people tell you you can’t do it."

Mathis admits keeping the business thriving during a pandemic is challenging, but says she learned to adapt, focusing on online orders and her Instagram page.

Her specialties are her salted caramel and strawberry cupcakes.

Mathis said she is now busier than ever, doing more deliveries and catering. She wants to inspire other NYCHA tenants to follow their dreams.

“If you are determined to start a business, do it! Don’t let anything get in your way,” said Mathis.

Watch Mathis and other female minority entrepreneurs share their stories of success from every borough.

Watch the Live "Monica Makes It Happen" Show Thursdays at 6:45 p.m. on the PIX11 Facebook page.