— A baker and a chocolate maker find a place to thrive in Frankford.
You’re not going to find anything that looks like a bakery or a candy store on the 4500 block of Worth St. Go inside the old Globe Dye Works building, though, and then stop and smell the goodies.
The aroma is stronger on the second floor, where Tegan Hagy and Lily Fischer make chocolate and cupcakes in the 1,000 square feet of production space they share.
Entrepreneurs Hagy and Fischer are not partners and neither is a retailer. They each have their own business. Fischer is the baker. Her business is A Cupcake Wonderland. Hagy owns Love Bar. She makes chocolate — from cocao beans to candy bars.
Hagy makes her chocolate bars from Bolivian criollo cocao beans that she mills herself. She said she’s the only chocolate maker in Philly who does that. Her candy bars recently were featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer. She takes orders online and also delivers. Her Love Bars also are available at Shane Candies, 110 Market St.
If you’re a regular viewer of the Food Network, you might have caught Fischer win the Cupcake Wars in an episode that aired in June. She takes orders online, too, and her cupcakes are available at DiBruno Brothers in South Philly. Her baked goods are created for birthday parties, special events, corporate events, gifts and coffee shops.
What the two friends do together is lease a place where they both can work. They’ve been working out of their roomy, bright and immaculate kitchen in the old industrial building since October, and they got some help from the Frankford Community Development Corporation in getting there.
Fischer said she had been operating her business out of her South Philly home. She had customers, but not a lot of room.
“My home had become my prison,” she said.
Hagy was renting space in restaurant kitchens, which meant she had to move her equipment around.
Then, Fischer said, they both lost partners at pretty much the same time last year. When they decided to find a permanent spot that suited both their needs, they started looking around and also looking for advice.
Most business organizations didn’t have much to offer them, Hagy said, and they weren’t completely satisfied with any properties they saw.
Hagy said she had been looking for about a year, and Fischer said she couldn’t expand her business from her home.
“I had my ducks in a row” as far as permits and other city red tape were concerned, Fischer said, but “the last piece of the puzzle was getting into a real space.”
Eventually, they started talking to a Kensington community organization and were referred to the Frankford Community Development Corporation.
Michelle Feldman, the CDC’s corridor manager, suggested looking in the old Globe Dye Works building.
Feldman said Globe looked like a good fit for Hagy and Fischer and for Frankford, although suggesting the old dye works building wasn’t something she generally did.
“Usually, I try to find people spaces on the Avenue,” she said.
But neither woman wanted retail space, so Feldman made introductions to Globe’s owners. Hagy and Fischer looked over what was available and liked what they saw.
The building has a good location. It’s just a few blocks from Interstate 95 and it’s near the Frankford El. And, Hagy and Fischer liked the price.
When the deal was made, the two had to renovate their new location and buy the gear they needed. They scoured the city to find the best equipment at the best prices, developing an extra expertise for doing that along the way.
The greater room and the permanence has helped both business owners increase production.
“I have more ability to meet demand than I did before,” Hagy said, adding that she sometimes had to turn down some requests.
“I’m now producing double what I was producing last year,” she said.
Helping her, Hagy said, are three paid interns who are Frankford High School students. They’ve learned to do everything, she said.
The old dye works is sort of off the beaten track, but the entrepreneurs don’t feel isolated. They certainly aren’t alone in the building, and they’ve made friends among other tenants.
“We’re a community here,” Fischer said. ••
LoveBar, Bean-To-Bar Chocolate, 215-870-5522, www.phillylovebar.com
A Cupcake Wonderland, 267-324-5579, acupcakewonderland.com
Michelle Feldman, the Frankford CDC’s corridor manager, can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com. The CDC’s Web site is www.frankfordcdc.com
Globe Dye Works, 4500 Worth St., Philadelphia, PA 19124, www.globedyeworks.com