When Sandra Shorter was a little girl, she wanted to own a cookie shop.

Sandra’s aunt instilled her love for baking. Hailing from Colombia, she taught Sandra how to make the freshest cakes, cookies and pastries.

When she got older, though, Sandra found another passion: teaching. She got her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Education. “Even early in my career as a teacher, I worked very hard to make each and every day special and enjoyable for the kids,” Sandra said. “It’s always been my passion to bring joy to every day.”

After several years teaching, Sandra’s sister bought her first KitchenAid™. It reignited Sandra’s love for baking. She set out to find the best cupcake base.

After months of perfecting the recipe, Sandra began to imagine what opening her own cupcake business might look like. She loved the concept of a “build-your-own” model, starting with a standalone delicious cupcake, letting the customer could choose the flavor, icing, and fun toppings to make it their own. “I didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing, starting a business, but I knew I’d regret not doing it,” Sandra recalled. “So we went for it.”

Sandra got connected with her local Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Development Center, and began making connections with other entrepreneurs.

After exploring business opportunities, Sandra got space in a commercial kitchen and bought a truck — which she called “Trixie” — and began showing up at the farmers’ markets. She offered a unique “build-your-own” approach to everyone who visited the truck — people loved Trixie so much, they started booking the truck for events.

Sandra got to live out her dream of bringing joy to every day even in the midst of a pandemic. “When Covid hit, nobody was going to brick and mortar shops anymore, but they still needed catering and custom orders for small get-togethers,” Sandra said. “Suddenly we had a huge customer base, taking Trixie to serve outdoor birthday parties and socially-distanced neighborhood events.”

She was busy with a four-year-old and a one-year-old, too. “I had lots of help,” she said. “I’m so grateful for my husband and my family for supporting us through everything.”

After five years of success with Trixie, Sandra needed a loan to set up her first shop in Lake Nona. She got referred to Kevin Riffey, Bank of Central Florida’s SBA Executive.

“When I met with Kevin for the first time, I truly felt like he believed in me,” Sandra said. “He answered all my questions quickly and I learned so much during the loan process.”

With help from Kevin and the Bank of Central Florida team, Sandra opened The Naked Cupcake in Lake Nona. Now, she works directly with her Relationship Manager Guy Michel to get equipped with high quality business banking.

“Every door that’s opened over the past five years has been a blessing,” Sandra recalled. “Bank of Central Florida has been a big one. We are staying at Bank of Central Florida as we grow.”