Westminster's Muffin Lady gets help from Fire Department Her bakery on wheels is back in business

February 02, 1997|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

Three weeks after the Carroll County Health Department shut down her bakery on wheels, Westminster's Muffin Lady is back in business.

Armed with the required cooking license and baking in an approved commercial kitchen donated by the local volunteer Fire Department, Linda Fisher made her comeback Friday on the streets of downtown Westminster, selling her fresh-baked goods for $1.25 apiece from her trademark red wagon.

Drivers honked and flashed Fisher the thumbs-up sign as she made her way through town, delivering muffins and cinnamon buns to Westminster office workers.

A baker for 19 years, Fisher, 47, began selling her just-out-of-the-oven treats from her Radio Flyer wagon last summer. Laid off from her job at a Westminster retirement community, she relied on the income from the muffin sales -- usually about $100 a week after expenses -- to help support herself and her 14-year-old son.

After learning about Fisher from an article in The Sun, three county Health Department sanitarians met her as she set out on her seven-mile route and told her she no longer could make her daily deliveries. Fisher, who baked in the kitchen of her downtown Westminster home, had to find a licensed commercial kitchen to continue her business.

She understood the department's position, but the action came as a blow to the fiercely independent woman.

"America was built on the entrepreneurial spirit," said Fisher, who lives in subsidized housing but was determined to avoid any other form of public assistance.

Upon hearing of Fisher's dilemma, the Westminster Volunteer Fire Department offered her the use of the commercial kitchen in its Main Street building.

Fisher left home at 3 a.m. Friday, her wagon loaded with baking supplies, and walked the mile to her new four-oven kitchen. Despite a few glitches -- leaving the chocolate chips at home and getting used to the new ovens -- Fisher emerged from the Fire Department with five-dozen muffins. After making some sales to a few hungry firefighters, she was off.

"At first I was scared; I wished I could have been invisible and let the wagon just roll along," she said, midway through her route. "But now that I'm over my anxiety attack, it feels great."

Pub Date: 2/02/97

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