b'SMALL BUSINESSmoms recipe, to creating a business plan and making sales calls.A time of growth, Margaret says she embraced the journey and got going. For three years, I was a one-woman show and responsible for all the baking, packaging, and delivering. At times, I wasnt sure what I was doing. There was no playbook, but I was having fun.With the base of her customers in Columbus and the surrounding area, Margaret expanded Southern Straws distribution footprint to include North Georgia, the mountains of North Carolina, and coastal communities. I would walk in a shop and ask, Are you Southern Treats: Southern Straws owners Neal Amos and Margaret Amos the owner? and tell them I had a gift for them, she says. Who doesnt like to get Mother and Son a gift? So, Id leave them with a box of cheese straws and some information about Southern Straws. I didnt hear back from Entrepreneurialeveryone I visited, but the ones I did are still our customers today. Team Bakes up Southern TreatsWhile Margaret was selling cheese straws A s Southern as sweet tea and grits, cheese straws are a savoryfrom the back of her car, the oldest of little treat that packs a bit of a kick. Starting with a fewher three sons, Neal, was busy earning essential ingredients including cheese, butter, flour, and a pincha finance degree from the University of Georgia (UGA). of cayenne pepper, variations of cheese straw recipes have been passed down through generations. In December 2013, Neal had his first real glimpse of Southern Straws growth Margaret Amos, from Columbus, startedLike many small businesses, what startedpotential. I was home for the Christmas making cheese straws more than 30 yearsas a hobby became a commercialbreak and was helping my mom out, he ago.enterprise many years later. When thesays. I delivered an order to a local shop, bottom dropped out of the financialand by the time I got back to our bakery, I was just out of college, looking forservices industry in 2010, Margaret foundthey were calling wanting 24 more bags. I something to make for friends forherself without a job.thought, How is this possible?Christmas, says Margaret.Grabbing my moms cheese straw press and recipe, IHaving worked in the corporate worldIntrigued by the idea of growing a small went to my apartment and whipped upsince college, Margaret says she wasbusiness from the ground up, Neal joined several batches of cheese straws. Whatsready for something completely different.the team after graduating from UGA in funny is, there was one ingredient I wasntTurning to her hobby of making cheeseMay 2014. sure what it was, so I used what I thought itstraws, she started Southern Straws in 2011. meantwell that has turned into the secretWith Neal coming onboard, the first item ingredient because I actually used theI had to learn a whole new world, sayson the agenda was getting both of us on wrong ingredient. To this day, we add theMargaret. From the licensing requirementsan even playing field, says Margaret. I had secret ingredient in every batch. in the food industry to scaling up myheard of a program offered through the UGA Small Business Development Center 24 SG MAGAZINE| FALL 2019 BUSINESS + CULTURE25'