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* Name: The Cake Gallery

* About the company: Tonya and Steve Hickey opened The Cake Gallery at 23 Cherokee Blvd. in 2004. At the time, they sold cakes for weddings, birthdays and other occasions. They also sold cupcakes and candies. The small operation sits off the busy thoroughfare and smells of frosting and cake the minute the door is opened. The owners say business has grown steadily over the past five years.

* Economic impact: This time last year, Mr. and Mrs. Hickey had six full- and part-time employees. Over the past 12 months, however, all of those employees chose to leave for one reason or another. Mrs. Hickey said it was the ideal time for her and her husband to decide not to fill those positions.

Also, they took a look at the items that were moving well and those that weren't selling quickly. As a result, they decided to stop selling cookies and candies and just focus on the core of their business -- birthday cakes. Mrs. Hickey said cakes for children's birthdays and weddings are items that are recession proof. No parent will deny their child a birthday cake, and a wedding cake is a must-have for brides, she said. She also decided to scale back the number of weddings, which take a great deal of time.

* What they did: The couple has survived by getting back to basics and focusing on the core parts of their business that delivered. They also made the decision not to replace employees who left until it was just the two of them left to run the business. The result has meant the bakery is running well and business has remained steady. Mrs. Hickey credits the increase in popularity of cake baking shows on TV and the surge in popularity of cupcakes in recent years. An affordable treat (under $2 for a cupcake), is something most people won't give up, even during a tough economy, she said.

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