LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Three years ago, Scarlet's Bakery opened its doors with the mission of helping exploited and trafficked women. Today, the business is thriving in the Shelby Park neighborhood and expanding its mission to help even more people.
It's that time of year when the kitchen at Scarlet's Bakery is bustling.
"December is the best time of year for baked goods. Everyone's off the diets, so they're completely willing to eat our cinnamon rolls," said founder Rachelle Starr.
Piles of delicious desserts are made by the expert pastry chefs who work behind the scenes. But here, they don't hire people to bake, they bake to hire people.
"When somebody purchases a cookie from us, it's giving someone a job. Our bottom line is that we hire women to have second chance opportunities. So it's not just about making good desserts, it's about being that chance," said Starr.
We first met Starr three years ago when the bakery first opened. The Shelby Park location works as an 18-month career development program for exploited and trafficked women learning baking skills to rebuild their lives. Just starting off, Starr admits she wasn't sure if the model would work.
"My hope was at least help one," she said.
But since then, Scarlet's Bakery has hired 25 women, employing them and giving them a second chance.
"Now three years in, I feel like we have a good system down. Our program has advanced and has really taken off," she said.
That success is paying off. They'll open a second location after the first of the year. "We'll be in the heart of St. Matthews where we have been hearing our customers' cries that we come out on the east end, and so we're finally going to make that happen," she said.
And with every tasty treat sold, another woman gets the chance to turn her life around.
"It increases our volume, which increases more jobs so our hope with expanding to St. Matthews is it provides another 10 jobs for women," said Starr.
If you would like to try Scarlet's Bakery, they're located on 741 East Oak Street. The new location will open in January at 106 Fairfax Avenue.
They'll also be at the Made Market on December 1. The holiday market featuring local makers is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Mellwood Art Center.
Ticket information can be found on the Made Market website.
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