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What a busy holiday season meant for a Utah baker

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Rita Magalde with some of her sweet treats. Her business boomed during the holiday season.

Rita Magalde with some of her sweet treats. Her business boomed during the holiday season. Carlos Linares/Photo courtesy of Rita Magalde

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My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

In June 2020, Rita Magalde’s baklava business received an influx of orders after people found her company, Sheer Ambrosia, on a list of Black-owned businesses in Utah. Months later, many of those shoppers have become regular clients, leading to a very busy holiday season.

“I was completely swamped,” Magalde said. “I was working through the night for several weeks. From the time I got off my day job, I would work until 8 a.m., until I was signed back in to my day job.”

After the orders were completed, Magalde paid her regular bills, then realized she had saved up enough to make a down payment on a home. She had owned a home in the past but sold it in 2018 to grow her business and send one of her children to college debt-free.

“I immediately called my realtor,” Magalde said. “I said, ‘I’ve got the amount of money. What’s the next step?’ ”

Her realtor told her that COVID has driven up the house market in Utah, with homes selling for tens of thousands of dollars more than they’re worth. Magalde said her realtor told her she’d likely have to wait at least a few months.

“That is my main goal, to get into a home that I own,” Magalde said. “I don’t really care about anything else. I will continue to work hard and save, so when the time comes, I’ll be ready.”

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