Engineering the perfect recipe for success

September 11, 2020

Miami Herbert alumna, Jossie Lukacik, BSBA ’13, turned adversity into opportunity during a global pandemic by starting from scratch.

In June 2020, during a crisis unlike anything our country has faced in our lifetimes, Jossie Lukacik, decided she needed to make drastic operational changes to her business Sweet Spot Studio. “It was do or die,” so took a risk and temporarily closed the business as she sought to re-invent it.

Sweet Spot Studio, located in Charlotte, N.C., originated as a shared-use kitchen space.

“I realized there was a need and an opportunity for commercial baking space,” Jossie said. “I opened jossie-lukacikwith a few tenants hoping to just cover rent and the electric bill.” 

In March of 2017, Sweet Spot Kitchen, as it was known then, opened with four tenants. A year later in 2018, Jossie expanded the kitchen to have 12 tenants, and opened Sweet Spot Studio, which offers pastry and baking classes to novice bakers as well as industry professionals.

“Then COVID-19 hit. Like many businesses, we had to pivot in real time if we wanted to stay afloat,” she said. “With upwards of 14 people per class, there was no way of physical distancing in the space we conducted classes, so we pivoted to online classes.”

Although the online modality was an instant success – the month of April turned out to be their most profitable month ever – the novelty of it quickly wore off. In May, when the city entered Phase 2 of reopening, sales dropped off by 90 percent.

“At the beginning of June, I realized I had to do something and do it fast. So, I decided to close to rethink my business plan.”

During the same time, her tenants were asking for more kitchen space. Knowing there was one more unit within the same business park, Jossie asked to see the unit.

“When I walked into the space, my first thought was ‘this is the perfect physically distanced classroom.’”

This new space altered her original re-opening plans, and she whipped up a completely different business plan.

This past weekend on Sept. 5, Jossie reopened Sweet Spot with four tasty offerings (brands):

“I’m taking what we did during quarantine and turning it into a sustainable, well-developed business model. In many ways, COVID was a blessing in disguise because it forced me to reevaluate the business and expand.

“I’ve notice, especially with my commercial kitchen space, that COVID has been the push that many have needed to follow their dreams. Entrepreneurship is definitely on the rise, and like me, many people are saying to themselves, ‘it’s a now or never.’”

Jossie began her undergraduate career as an engineering student at the University of Miami, but quickly realized that her passion was baking. She graduated from Miami Herbert in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, specializing in entrepreneurship. Seven years later, she is still in contact with her favorite professor, Dr. Joseph Ganitsky.

“Professor Ganitsky’s feasibility analyst project really helped me when I began my business, but besides that, like many of the business professors, he is genuinely invested in the success of his students. I emailed him four years after graduating and he knew exactly who I was. And ever since then, I’ll periodically send him a quick hello and any Sweet Spot or career updates.”

Sweet Spot Studio is currently located in North Carolina, but Jossie hopes to expand into other states.
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