As a mother with three young children in the early 2000s, Anita Skrocki found herself in need of both a hobby and some extra cash. She started selling baked goods out of her kitchen, earning a reputation in Reading, Penn., for her delicious pastries. Later, a local coffee shop asked her to fill in for their biscotti supplier, who had fallen ill. Anita wound up baking biscottis for several cafes in the area, and soon shifted her focus to creating a wholesale biscotti business. She now sells flavors ranging from creamsicle to cranberry hazelnut, and offers brilliantly decorated biscottis for weddings, baby showers and graduation parties.
Skrocki has grown Anita’s Biscottis from a one-woman operation to a business with two employees. She still bakes out of her home, but is now looking toward leasing a commercial bakery. She has also opened a sister business, Anita’s On Walnut Cafe & Bakery, which features a wall of biscotti flavors, a breakfast and lunch menu, and a variety of pastries and coffee.
SCORE mentor Chet Shoop helped Skrocki start her business. Though the two never met in person – it wasn’t easy for Skrocki to get out of the house with three young kids – Shoop helped her develop her business plan and get her website up. Unfortunately, he passed away after they’d been working together for nine months. “Even though we never met, I felt so close with him. He was an elderly man who loved helping out with SCORE,” says Skrocki.
Later, Larry Rush became Skrocki’s mentor, helping her to grow her business smartly, and “expand in areas I would not have thought of.”
Skrocki says that SCORE “taught me how to organize, work towards, set goals, work through problems … It taught me how to become a well-oiled machine in the bakery.”