Teacher turned business owner makes family the center of new bakery

Local News

A woman in Punxsutawney took a chance on opening a business of her own and her family has been a big influence along the way.

Our Allison Gens shares this new business owner’s story and what advice she has for other women who want to start their own business.

Owning a cafe and bakery has always been a dream for Jaclyn Steele…and she says she found the perfect home for it in Punxsutawney.

This is what a typical Friday looks like at Leila Jo’s Cafe and Bakery in Punxsutawney.

“I think we’ve been well-received. Everybody’s excited,” said Jaclyn.

Except typical is still brand new to Jaclyn Steele, a pastry chef and teacher turned business owner.

“I’ve always wanted to branch off and have my own business, so I just branched out and did it, took a leap,” she said.

Jaclyn is originally from Pittsburgh…but found home in Punxsutawney when she met her husband, Eric.

“It’s nice to see her happy in the kitchen, she loves doing it,” Eric said.

And at the heart of the business, is their daughter, Leila.

“We were going back and forth with names and it was important for us to incorporate her into it,” said Jaclyn.

“She came up with Leila’s and we were trying to think it through and I was like ‘no, that seems too short,'” said Eric. “So I said ‘why don’t we go with Leila Jo’s because her middle name is from, Jackie’s grandfather.’”

“Now she’s a big part of it,” Jaclyn said. “Always here, always running around playing.”

Leila Jo’s opened on January 19.

Not only does Jaclyn serve up her homemade pastries, she has the recipe for a local favorite: Shaffer’s pizza.

As a new business owner, she wants to inspire other women to follow their passion and take the leap too.

“If you ever want to have your own business, and I used to teach this as well, go for it and just put your heart and soul into it and you can be successful,” said Jaclyn.

Right now, Leila Jo’s is only open Friday through Sunday, but they hope to be open more days in the future.

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