Getting laid off from her job when she was five months pregnant turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to Tammi Bailey.
Valentine's Day will mark the fourth anniversary for Polka Dot Cupcakery, the store Bailey opened in northwest Columbus as a direct result of losing her job with an auto finance firm seven and a half years ago.
"I was the lady at work who always brought in baked goods," Bailey said last week.
After the layoff, the Upper Arlington resident said her husband, Dwayne Bailey, suggested she start a business using her talents as a baker, especially when it comes to her cupcakes.
"No one's going to buy my cupcakes," Bailey said she though at the time.
Dwayne Bailey started a website for the enterprise anyway, and as one cupcake order a month turned into two and then three, his wife began to realize they might have discovered something.
Four years ago, as the burgeoning business threatened to take over the family's home, Tammi Bailey found space in the Hayden Run Plaza off Bethel Road.
It's a relatively quiet shopping center, she said, with most of the tenants not too dependent on foot traffic.
After establishing the bakery, Bailey said she decided to sell cupcakes individually out of the store as well as meeting the needs of clients wanting sweet treats for weddings, birthday parties and corporate events.
"My customers are awesome," Bailey said. "I couldn't be gifted with a better clientele."
Among those customers is Miguel Garcia. The Northwest Side resident said he discovered Polka Dot Cupcakery while visiting another business in the plaza.
"I thought I'd check them out," Garcia said. "I think they're delicious."
"I found them on Instagram," said Amber Liston, a Northland resident and customer.
"Tammi always responds to questions and requests really quickly," Liston said. "She will hold cupcakes for me if I say I want certain ones."
"We've always been pleased," said Christine Stoner, a Worthington resident who began buying cupcakes from Bailey when she still operated out of her kitchen at home.
"She uses fresh ingredients and does such a good job with them," Stoner said.
"They're fantastic," friend and customer Brittany Burkey said while stopping in at Bailey's shop last week. "They're way better than any other place in town.
"My children love (Bailey's) cupcakes," she said.
"In fact, I made the mistake of offering to go someplace else for cupcakes and my daughter said, 'No, we have to go to Polka Dot because they're the best.' "
Tammi Bailey was born in Iowa and grew up in Minnesota before moving to central Ohio 22 years ago.
She said she's glad that what seemed like a major setback when she lost her job had the silver lining of leading her to another calling.
"I love it," she said.
Bailey said she's also glad she decided to sell individual cupcakes out of the store.
"No one comes in here in a bad mood," she said. "I haven't had it happen yet."