Two Maryland sisters who turned to their sweet side hustle when they were furloughed during the government shutdown are opening a store at National Harbor on Thursday.
"Our own store on National Cheescake Day at The National Harbor. What can be better than that?" Nikki Howard said.
Howard and her sister Jaqi Wright worked Wednesday night to prepare for the big opening of The Furlough Cheesecake, putting up paintings and signs.
"It's a jumble of emotions: excitement, anticipation," Wright said.
The sisters first began selling their cheesecakes to pay the bills during the government shutdown in 2019.
Since then, their baking skills have taken them far with an appearance on the Ellen show and the opportunity to sell their cheesecakes at 100 regional Walmart stores.
They recently gave 5,000 of their sweet desserts to essential workers such as fire fighters, doctors and nurses, during the pandemic.
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"We wanted to give them a slice of smile just to say that we appreciate them," Wright said. "It's the community that drives us to continue to do what we're doing."
Patrons can enjoy cheesecake and coffee at tables that are 6 feet apart. Face masks are required inside the shop, but people can take them off while they eat.
The store is at 170 American Way at National Harbor in Oxon Hill and opens at 10 a.m. Thursday.