Cheryl Hartter of Eckert is proof that economic activity increases when government regulation is cut.
Cheryl is taking her love for baking great things to eat and starting a new business, "Sweet Pleasures Creations."
Her decision was prompted by the state government's recent rollback of regulations that had added high costs to her enterprising ideas.
The recently enacted Colorado Cottage Law exempts certain home-based small producers of non-perishable edible goods from regulations that have added prohibitive costs by requiring the use of commercial-grade equipment and facilities.
Before, in order to bake a wedding cake for a customer, Cheryl explains, she was required to have a complete commercial-grade kitchen facility to work in.
The small, efficient, well-equipped and spotless galley kitchen at her home didn't qualify under the state rules. The only alternative was to rent a commercial kitchen in Cedaredge at $10 per hour for a minimum of five hours. That priced her work out of the market.
Now, without the expensive, profit-killing state government rules to contend with, Cheryl is able to see profit in her passion of from-scratch baking and selling direct to the end consumer.
A true entrepreneur, she is also ready to find a publisher to take on her cookbook, a project begun at the urging of her husband, Gordon. He had suggested the cookbook idea when the state's now-removed regulations had kept Cheryl from selling her baked goods to the public.
Cheryl recalls beginning her baking apprenticeship around the age of four or five. She watched and helped her grandmother make homemade noodles, breads, and especially cookies and sweet things.
Those early experiences were formative: Cheryl will place a dedication in the front of her cookbook honoring lessons learned at grandmother's knee about how to make good things to eat from scratch.
Cheryl's love of that early sweet life inspired the name of her new business venture. Her knowledge of healthy living combined with a business woman's sense of the market also led her to make gluten-free baking a speciality of her craft. The cookbook will have three sections: gluten free, Stevia sweetened, and whole wheat. She also offers the more traditional fare for those who prefer white flour goods with sugar sweetening.
Cheryl and Gordon are no strangers to successful business. They owned and operated Eckert Motors from 1997 to 2008 when Gordon retired. Being part of the local community is a big part of Cheryl's life, too. She served as a volunteer for the Council Tree PowWow for 11 years. Five of those years she helped with preparation of the annual participants' banquet. She was named PowWow volunteer of the year in 2005, and on special occasions she proudly wears the jacket she received for that honor.
Before the law change that helped open the new business venture to her, Cheryl shared her culinary skills with family, friends, and at church gatherings. She volunteered her kitchen crafts with a local ministry that operates a free soup kitchen Christian witness at gatherings of the Rainbow Family.
As a Christian, it's perhaps fitting that Cheryl's first foray into the new direct-to-customer baking business was to benefit for a startup local church. She set up the family's 30-foot motor home for two weekends in April in front of the His Resting Place Ministry in Delta, and donated profits of that two weeks' sales to the Lord's work.
Cheryl is a person of deep faith and an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ which she gladly shares with others who are interested.
"In 1984, I gave my life to the Lord," she said. "My heart longed for a loving father and I didn't know why. We come to Jesus with wounds in our souls. He knows what we can handle and he heals us all as we go. I have overcome."
Cheryl also offers a word of friendly advice for newcomers to cottage industry enterprise. The Colorado Cottage Law does not exempt their businesses from following all other applicable state and local regulations that govern their small business. For example, that can mean a business license has to be purchased, and entrepreneurs have to collect and pay required sales tax on their sales, and so forth. Other regulations and laws relating to employees and a variety of business issues may also apply.
New business owners are advised to look carefully before they leap into business.
Cheryl has learned the ropes of free enterprise pretty well and now she can use that knowledge to pursue her passion.
"Now I am baking for people," Cheryl says.
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