They're Baaaaaaack!

Baking Success

Kenny and Staci Munic Mintz, Little Miss Muffin

Then & Now
No. of employees
1995: 10
2001: 29
Sales
1995: $1.5 million
2000: $3.5 million
Biggest change
The company also sells doughnuts and cookies, such as Rocky Road long johns and French Toast doughnuts.

While We Were Away
Domestic shipments of baking or frying fats in 1995
6.99 million pounds
Domestic shipments of baking or frying fats in 2000
8.46 million pounds
Source: Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils

What do you do if you're a fledgling entrepreneur and you lose a customer who accounts for 45 percent of your total business?

"You mean after they scrape you off the floor?" jokes Kenny Munic, 30, co-founder of Little Miss Muffin, a Chicago bakery that specializes in creative, low-fat muffins such as Peach Blueberry Cobbler and Raspberry Poached Pear.

Founded in 1993, Little Miss Muffin could have gone out of business when it losts its biggest customer in 1997-but it rode out of the storm. Today the company, which Munic runs with sister and co-founder Staci Munic, 34, projects revenue of $3.5 million for 2000, up from $1.5 million when we first profiled them in 1995. "We sucked it up and worked longer hours and got more customers," says Kenny Munic. "At the end of the following year, we replaced 100 percent of the lost business."

The brother-sister tandem also expanded, and in 1997 founded Big Shoulders Baking, a full-fat muffin line featuring temptations such as Carrot Cake Muffins and Quadruple Berry Scones. In 1998, the Munics launched Donut Boy, which serves up creative concoctions like Rocky Road long johns, Toffee Bar Crunch doughnuts and French Toast doughnuts. According to Munic, creativity is what sets his companies apart. "We try to launch three new products per quarter," he says. "Our products are unique because that's what our customers want."

Munic also thinks that working with his sister (currently on maternity leave) is a big advantage. "We enjoy working together, and we get a huge sense of satisfaction from creating things," says Munic. "That's the key to our success."

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This article was originally published in the March 2001 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: They're Baaaaaaack!.

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