The government has pulled the plug on an 11-year-old Illinois baker’s oven.
A day after a local newspaper ran a story about the young and ambitious Chloe Stirling, who operated a cupcake business out of her parents’ kitchen, the local health department came calling.
“They called and said they were shutting us down,” Heather Stirling, Chloe’s mother, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Officials told Stirling Chloe could continue selling cupcakes on the condition that the family “buy a bakery or build her a kitchen separate from the one we have.”
“Obviously, we can’t do that,” Heather Stirling told reporters. “We’ve already given her a little refrigerator to keep her things in, and her grandparents bought her a stand mixer.”
The elder Stirling said that she was willing to get her daughter any necessary licenses or permits to operate a business, but could not meet the health department’s other demands.
“But a separate kitchen? Who can do that?” asked an astonished Stirling.
When reporters approached Amy Yeager, a health department spokeswoman, about the county’s decision to shut down Chloe’s business, she said that she was doing it for the sake of the public.
“The rules are the rules. It’s for the protection of the public health,” Yeager said, according to the Post-Dispatch. “The guidelines apply to everyone.”
“People will react how they choose to react,” she added. “But it is our job.”
Chloe originally started selling the frosted cakes under the name “Hey, Cupcake” to save up for a car when she turns sixteen.
And before the government took her oven mitts, the sixth grader charged $10 for a dozen cupcakes and $2 for each specialty cupcake.
However, she was also known to donate her time and sprinkles to charity.
When a boy in her school was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, she donated cupcakes to helpraise money for his treatment. Adding a personal touch, she made them orange and blue because he “was a really big Cubs fan.”
Her largest order ever, amounting to 220 cupcakes, was also for a cancer fundraiser.
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