Jodi Rhoden, owner of Short Street Cakes, started baking as a hobby — it just felt good to recreate family recipes. But before long, she was making cakes for friends, and her favorite pastime became a full-time job. “Through baking, I was able to transform my life from being an unemployed stay-at-home mom to being a business owner,” she says. “It was a means for me of empowering myself.”
Today, Rhoden stocks her Haywood Road shop with slices of salted caramel cake, handpies stuffed with fresh berries and rhubarb, coconut cupcakes and fresh-baked cookies. Visitors sit at vintage chrome and vinyl tables to enjoy their sweets or take home whole cakes and pies.
“For me, cake very much embodies a sense of meaning and celebration in everyday life,” Rhoden says. “The women in my family baked traditional, Southern-style cakes from scratch. I offer honest, homestyle recipes.”
One cause for celebration? The community that supported Rhoden as she started her business back in 2006. The Georgia native credits much of her success to Asheville. “Something that is definitely unique to Asheville is a sense of independence and entrepreneurship,” she says. “I think that Appalachian people have always been fiercely independent and self-reliant, and that has remained a value in Asheville unwaveringly.”
As a way of giving back to the folks who helped her launch the cake shop, Rhoden serves as a business coach. “Whatever those dreams are that people have, I want to help them empower themselves,” she says. “For somebody, it might be building a house or opening an acupuncture clinic. For me, it was baking cake.”