Nikki Howard and her sister Jaqi Wright’s Furlough Cheesecakes will now be available in 100 Walmart stores in the DMV,WJLA reported.
The ingenious sisters were among the 800,000 people affected by the federal government shutdown. Bills piled up. Their savings served as the only way to keep food on the table and roofs over their heads.
“We prepared for rain, but we got a monsoon,” Wright, who worked at the Department of Justice, told NBC Washington.
So the pair of furloughed federal workers took a leap of faith and chose to start a cheesecake business to make a way for themselves. Now, the two are making bank through their Furlough Cheesecake. “Cheesecake has been my weakness since I can remember,” Howard said in January.
The government shutdown began on December 22 and lasted for over a month, making it the longest shutdown in American history. Howard and her sister were compelled to make best of the situation.
“How do I look at my child and say, ‘I can’t send you back to school’?” asked Howard, a former Food and Drug Administration worker.
Within the first week, Furlough Cheesecake received 100 orders outside of the DMV including Atlanta, Indiana and Texas.
The sisters’ story quickly gained national attention, attracting comedienne Ellen DeGeneres, who placed a $20,000 order. Since going viral, business has been consistently booming. The pastry makers no longer have to work their federal jobs.
Furlough Cheesecake is their full-time job now. Walmart will have smaller, mini versions of their cheesecakes available sometime in August.