Sweet Rewards

Joining Forces

In 1988, Ashley Ghegan moved to Atlanta and contacted King, an old University of Georgia classmate. For nearly a decade after college, they'd both worked for Delta as flight attendants; later, while King pursued a career as a travel writer, Ghegan married and retired to life as a corporate wife.

With Ghegan now living in Atlanta, the longtime friendship was soon in full bloom again. Then a strange twist of fate occurred: One day when Ghegan stopped by King's business to help out, Ann's partner accidentally caught her hand in a blender and later called from the hospital to say she wouldn't be returning to the business. The big surprise came when King and Ghegan found $100,000 in unopened bills in the partner's desk. Chalking it up to a breakdown in communication, King was determined to forgive and forget. Once again, she moved on--this time with Ghegan in tow.

Blooming Cookies' newfound indebtedness was overwhelming, and when King and Ghegan met with their CPA and other business advisors, they were encouraged to file for bankruptcy and "get real jobs." But King wasn't ready to call it quits. "I didn't want to stiff the people who had stood by me all those years," she says.

So King and Ghegan got on the phone and began calling Blooming Cookies' vendors, promising them $25 a week in payments. Eventually, says Ghegan, 46, "We cleaned up every [account] and garnered a lot of respect from the people that had believed in Ann."

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This article was originally published in the October 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Sweet Rewards.

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