Angela and Annette Del Biaggio, aka The Frosting Queens, launched their all-natural icing just three years ago, and now it's selling at more than 350 stores in 30 states.
"We owned a commercial kitchen ourselves in Carmichael for about a year," Annette Del Biaggio told me, "and we made all our own frosting and then we got some really good advice that if you're going to grow your business, you need to spend time marketing it and selling it and leave the making of it to someone that you trust."
They sold their commercial kitchen and hired a company in Southern California to produce the frosting, using their recipes. Their monthly sales vary from 6,000 to 12,000 pouches, depending on the season. They sell for around $6 at grocers such as Whole Foods, Schnuck's, Hy-Vee and Wegman's.
Right now, the Frosting Queens are funneling every dollar they earn back into expanding their business, so neither Del Biaggio has quit her day job. Annette is a kindergarten teacher who lives in Sacramento; Angela, an insurance fraud investigator and Folsom resident.
The two sisters, both in their mid-40s, said they always knew they wanted to found a specialty food business, and they visited food shows in San Francisco for years before the right idea came to them.
"While we were there, this little booth had mini-cupcakes she was actually selling," Angela Del Biaggio said.
"We each had one to taste, and
we were like, 'The frosting's OK.'
I think it was like a day or two later that I called Annette and I said, 'You know what? I know what we should do.' "
Brother, where art thou?
Dr. Terry Adair, a dentist for 25 years, is pitching disability insurance.
"I was smart enough to buy disability insurance," he told me, "and I really, really recommend it. I recommend it so much that I could be an insurance salesman. It's one of those things that is easy to put off and not think about, but an insurance guy, 20-something years ago, was telling me that you're way more likely to become disabled than you are to die."
Adair paid pricy premiums all those years, and it turned out the insurance salesman was right in his case. After a 25-year tug-of-war with cheeks, tongues and jaws, Adair began to have severe pain in the joint that connected his left thumb to his hand. Orthopedic surgery didn't provide the relief he'd hoped for, and he had to retire from the profession at age 51. Fortunately, his disability insurance was occupation-specific, and the benefits will give him the chance to ponder and fund the next chapter in his work life.
Adair sold his dental practice to Dr. Jenny Vassilian, but things won't be the same for his 2,500 patients or for his brother, Dr. Todd Adair. You see, the Adair brothers are twins, and years ago, Terry Adair had the bright idea that they should share office space at 2831 J St. Terry Adair is the dentist; Todd, an optometrist.
"We still fooled people all the way to the end," Todd Adair said. " He would see somebody and then leave, and I'd walk out, and they'd say, 'Wait a second. How'd you change so fast?'"
Todd Adair told me he's been following in his brother's footsteps since they were born. He arrived 13 minutes after Terry. A year after his elder brother went to study biology at Sonoma State, Todd followed him and took the same major. Four years after Terry Adair entered dental school, Todd went to optometry school. Then he bought an optometry practice in Sacramento four years after Terry bought his dental practice. They joined forces in 1996, but that will end soon.
"It's easier to leave than to be left," Todd Adair said. "It is kind of sad around here."
Tako BBQ, fueled to grow
The idea of expanding has occurred to Alex Won and Yoon Hee Cho as their Tako Korean BBQ has found its footing at 3030 T St. in Sacramento.
Cho told me she hasn't found quite the right spot yet, but it's definitely on her mind just one year after opening the restaurant. She and Won have extended the portico to shield customers seated outside during the rainy season. They also added storage space and expanded the menu.
"We have kimchi fried rice," Cho said. "When we first opened, I didn't have that. In the veggie section, I added some more. We had only tofu, but later I added corn and mushroom and Korean style noodles. In this area, there are more vegetarians and they asked me about that."