For This Small Business, The Pressure is On During the Holidays

Most families worry about spending too much on gifts or travel over the holidays. Some family businesses rely on the holidays as a lifeline when revenue has been flat. Quincy and Sheri Brown hope for the best this season, because they don’t have a plan B.

By Courtney CollinsDecember 2, 2015 9:30 am,

This story originally appeared on KERA

It’s a dreary afternoon in Garland. The sky is gray. It’s starting to drizzle and traffic is stop-and-go long before rush hour begins.

Inside Quincy and Sheri Brown’s catering trailer, parked at a Shell gas station, the mood is much lighter.

It might be noisy inside their generator-powered mobile kitchen, but it’s warm and toasty. And Sheri’s double cheeseburgers make the whole place smell like heaven.

While his wife cooks, Quincy fills glasses with pink lemonade.

Serving up lunch and dinner helps pay the bills. But what really defines their business — cake.

“We got butter chocolate, we got ‘sock it to me,’ coconut, lemon, salted caramel, cookies and cream,” Quincy says. “We have birthday cake, pumpkin, blueberry, we have raspberry. Want me to keep going?”

And most important, they’ve got plain old butter cake, which evolved from Sheri’s great-grandma’s pound cake recipe.

It’s simple and straightforward, and when people taste it:

“Some of them cry, some of them smile,” Quincy says. “And some of them just keep coming back every week.”

Weekly customers — that’s exactly who the Browns need.

Just Go Bake Something 

They started their business in 2001. Quincy had just left his job at a car dealership. Then, Sheri was laid off from a local hospital. The job market wasn’t friendly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the holiday season was looming.

“And my husband said, ‘Just go bake something. We need to pay some bills,’” Sheri recalls. “So I went and pulled my great-grandmother’s recipe out and it became a hit.”

At first, all the baking happened at home. When the cakes caught on, the business started to outgrow their kitchen. That’s when Sheri and Quincy’s young son inadvertently gave it a name.

“He was like 5 at the time, and I’m always tired, my feet are always hurting, so I told him, ‘Go answer the phone,’” Sheri says. “And so he grabbed the phone and said ‘There ain’t no mo butter cakes; my mom’s feet hurt!’ So that’s how we came up with the ‘Ain’t No Mo! Butter Cakes.’”

A Big Move, A Big Price Tag 

The Browns moved the baking out of their house through a couple of storefronts and warehouses before settling in at the Dallas Farmers Market. They stayed there for five years.

Last December, they decided to take their show on the road and buy a concession trailer — a huge move for the business, with a big price tag.

“This trailer right here? About $60,000,” Quincy says. “And I bought it all with cakes.”

The shiny silver trailer has a bright pink and yellow custom paint job with a logo visible from a mile away. Inside, Sheri has everything she needs to grill up burgers and bake. She can bake around a hundred small cakes every 20 minutes.

Read the rest of the story at KERA