Cheesecake Funk owner uses social media to reshape her business amid stay-at-home order

Vanessa Drews quit her full-time job last year to launch her cheesecake business Cheesecake Funk. (Vanessa Drews)

With a stay-at-home order now in effect for more than a month, the spread of COVID-19 is crippling many small business owners. The pandemic is also forcing some entrepreneurs to rethink how they do business. 

Less than a year after quitting a full-time job to launch a cheesecake business, Vanessa Drews’ one-woman operation at Cheesecake Funk began to crumble.

“I supply to restaurants, so as soon as restaurants were ordered to close my supply and demand went down drastically,” said Drews.

Hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the single mom of two says attaining loans and state aid has not come easy. 

“I was very discouraged with how am I going to get any support if none of the businesses and entities that are out there to help small businesses, will actually help me,” said Drews.

So she turned to social media, where she has a following. Her desserts are featured on the menu at Crave restaurants across the metro. Cheesecake Funk was also once a favorite of the late legendary musician Prince.

“I just decided to test out, with all of my amazing supporters on social media,” said Drews. “If I were to put up a pop-up shop, would people come? I went with that and the first time I did it, I did phenomenal.”

Working out of a shared kitchen space in south Minneapolis, Drews is now cooking up new ways to reach consumers.

“I feel like I’ve created a new direction in my company and my business where I can basically do takeout for people,” she said.

For now, it’s sustainable.

“If there aren’t more programs available to help small businesses like myself, it’s really sad for businesses in my position,” said Drews.

For many small businesses, it's a fight to survive.

“I think that I can continue to do this and do well at it,” said Drews.

Drews hopes by sharing her story that more resources go into helping small businesses that aren't able to get federal or state assistance.