November 1, 2010
10-185

Kate Elliot
Communications Specialist

The Sweet Life: Purchasing Agent Serves up Love, One Slice at aTime

 

VALDOSTA -- Pam Vickers' days are absorbed with bookkeeping in the VSU Purchasing Office; her nights and weekends are filled with chocolate cake topped with milk chocolate ganache and layered with coffee cream cheese icing or cinnamon rolls drizzled with maple glaze or raspberry filled petit fours expertly decorated with lemon buttercream.

If you are what you eat, then the mother of two is as sweet as the confections she has baked daily, with a smile, for the past two years. Vickers, who began working at VSU in December 2006, has built a regional pastry empire -- PV Sweets -- with the goal of bringing joy to people’s lives, one bite at a time.

“I've always loved to cook so my husband and I bought a restaurant in Nashville once upon a time. Although I loved many aspects of owning the restaurant, it only took about 3 years to know that was really not my calling,” Vickers said. “However, my customers, who became my friends, would not let me get away from baking for them, especially the thin layer cakes.”

In 2008, friends challenged the buyer for VSU to create their wedding and groom’s cake. With no formal culinary training, Vickers said a short prayer, read a few instructional books, and then got to mixing. Two years later, Vickers has mastered more than 25 specialty cakes, including “The Blazer” -- thin butter cake layers with "Red Hot" spicy raspberry filling and iced with chocolate buttercream. She also sells cookies, pound cakes, cheesecakes, cinnamon rolls, and specialty brownies/blondies, like the “Tropical Explosion” blended with macadamia nuts, coconut, pineapple and cranberries.

“A friend challenged me to make a four-tiered upside down cake for her daughters 16th birthday. It was a challenge, but turned out so good. Another of my favorites was the octopus groom's cake. It was different and I like different,” said Vickers, who grew up in Quitman, Ga.

Vickers said she could not have built PVSweets without the support and continued encouragement of her VSU family. The family business is such in every sense of the word; her husband, Tim, and sons, Dustin & Kyle, help with everything from frosting to delivery. Her brother, Chad Chastain, has created a website, www.PVSweets.com, which features pictures of cakes, pricing and order forms.

“I love my job here at VSU; but when I get home in the afternoons and begin baking and decorating, it just puts me in a whole different world and sometimes I wish I could bake cakes all day and every day,” said Vickers, who estimates that a wedding cake takes about 25 hours to complete. “I really love making people happy and cakes are associated with happy occasions.”