Jaqi Wright and her sister, Nikki Howard, are furloughed federal employees who have found a way to bounce back during this partial government shutdown, which began Dec. 22.
800,000 federal employees and contractors are reportedly affected by Trump’s shutdown, and Wright and Howard — who work for the Justice Department and Food and Drug Administration in Washington D.C., respectively — are concerned about how the lack of pay will impact their finances. per time.com.
Rather than accept defeat, the Maryland-based sisters decided to launch The Furlough Cheesecake on New Year’s Day — selling cheesecakes for $29.98 each.
“We don’t know when this is going to end. We don’t have a clue,” Howard, the baker behind the operation, says. “But instead of dwelling on that and feeling the depression that tends to come with these kinds of situations, we’re making a decision to do something else.”
According to the TIME report, it didn’t take long for the duo to get their business off the ground. Wright, 50, conceived the name for “The Furlough Cheesecake” and applied for an employee identification number on the IRS’s website. Howard, 48, already had her food handler license, so she enlisted her teenaged and college-aged daughters to help create their website and promote the business on social media.
“We have a little machine that’s working,” Howard says.
Interest in The Furlough Cheesecake grew fairly quickly since launching 10 days ago, with requests coming in from as far as Alaska, California, and Washington state.
“We had to pool our resources to purchase everything to put this together,” Wright says. “Just to see that we have a balance, it’s like having a paycheck there. We know that some of those things that we’re facing we’ll now be able to take care of.”
For now, they both hope the business can help them make ends meet.
“In the shadow and the foolery of this shutdown, this has made it a little lighter,” Howard says. “I get to work with my sister and try to invest some of our time into something positive.”
“This is a heavy time for a lot of folks,” Wright adds. “This is where the dream started, and we’re going to stick with that name. We’re going to hopefully help remind people that you can take lemons and make lemonade.”