Tampa woman starts Etsy shop, goes viral with candy apples, hot chocolate ‘bombs’

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay mom is adapting during the coronavirus pandemic, providing for her family and bringing joy and sweets to the area, and across the nation, with her beautifully crafted candy apples and hot chocolate and tea “bombs.”

Michele Taylor is a stay-at-home mom of five. She owns the Etsy shop bakery known as “Cake Dealer Shell.”

Taylor was a Lyft driver before the pandemic. She was also pregnant at the time it began.

She told 8 On Your Side’s Daisy Ruth she began her Etsy shop about two months in to the pandemic.

“My husband, he’s a remodeler, a painter, and his work pretty much ceased to exist once the pandemic happened. We had to figure out something,” she said. “I wasn’t really doing well on the marketplace on Facebook, selling my baked goods. So I was like, ‘let me try this Etsy thing.’ And ever since I opened it, off the charts. Going crazy.”

Taylor is using skills learned early on in life to grow her business. Her grandmother baked wedding cakes and she said she grew up with her baking in the kitchen “all the time.”

She sells cookies, cakes and all kinds of sweets, but the hot chocolate and tea “bombs,” which are becoming increasingly popular on social media such as Instagram and TikTok, are hot commodities.

“Candy apples are the hottest seller. Most of my orders are shipped to New York. Apparently I am just as good as Coney Island,” Taylor said. “So a lot of people, [in] in their childhood, grew up going to Coney Island, eating the candy apples at Coney Island and apparently they’re no more and they order them from me. We apparently have the same flavor as Coney Island did.”

Taylor is looking toward the future with her baked goods, apples and “bombs.” Her family may be relocating to Pennsylvania, but thanks to the power of the internet, those across the nation can enjoy these delicacies from this Tampa mom.

“Trying to make it. Trying to make it in this world. Trying to live the American dream,” Taylor said.

You can find Cake Dealer Shell on Etsy, as well as view her treats on Instagram.

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