“She is one of my best friends,” Amanda says. “She is like my hero. I have grown stronger by having my mom there by my side.”

Adds Allison: “I like working with my family. I like that this place is very special to us as a family because we have watched it grow. I like that it is our place.”

As a boss, her mom treats her daughters like any other employees, “but better,” Allison says. “She is really nice and really respectful and fair.”

Amanda is known for her passion for baking and staying behind the scenes at Kupcakes & Co., whipping up new gourmet flavors. Their lineup includes some 24 flavors, including chocolate-dipped strawberry, hazelnut crunch, mocha latte, salted caramel, snickerdoodle, Key lime and raspberry lemonade. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the vanilla-cherry-flavored Blossoms of Hope cupcakes benefits the county’s Blossoms of Hope Foundation in support of breast cancer patients.


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Meanwhile, Allison is the one who loves to come up with new ways to promote the baked goods and help the business grow. At Allison’s suggestion, Kupiec began selling cupcakes to Pazani Trattoria Italiana, in Elkridge, and now sells cupcakes at four other local restaurants, including Shannon’s Saloon and Alexandra’s at Turf Valley, in Ellicott City.

Like any family, there are occasional flare-ups, but Allison says at Kupcakes & Co. they are quite rare.

“We might get in an argument,  but it is always over something little and not a big deal, and then we joke about it later,” Allison says. “I like making her laugh a lot. We have a very funny, loving relationship.”

Still, there are times that the bickering begins between Amanda and Allison, their mom says.

“They’re twins, they’re sisters, and they’re 16,” she says. “There is fighting to be had. And then there is arguing and making up. I know, for all of us, there will be times where we will need to say ‘We are all really tired. Let’s just take a timeout.’ ”

All About Yarn

For Columbia residents Karen Thiem and Cindy Jones, not only was there a desire to be in business with their daughters, but their daughters were the sole reason for starting a business at all.

Thiem and Jones are the owners of All About Yarn, in the Oakland Center on Route 108. The shop specializes in carrying a varied stock of yarn and tools and in offering a place for needlework enthusiasts to come together to work on and share projects.

The two women share a love for knitting and crocheting. They also share a desire to help their daughters, Amanda and Miglena, respectively, to live productive lives. Both daughters are 24 and have developmental disabilities that would be an obstacle in the work world, Thiem said.

Thiem and Jones met while attending their daughters' Special Olympics basketball team practices. They would sit in the stands, knitting away and talk about their families and everyday happenings.

Eventually Thiem convinced Jones that they should open their own specialty yarn shop. All About Yarn opened in October 2004.

“Having them (Amanda and Miglena) here with us is the best thing,” Thiem said. “We know where they are and what they are doing and that they are taken care of.”

Her daughter, Amanda, while 24, has the cognitive ability of a 14-year-old, Thiem said.

“She is a perpetual teenager, which means our relationship changes every day, sometimes every minute,” Thiem said. “Some days she will argue with me about what color the sky is, but then some days there are glimmers of adulthood. What we have is not a typical mother-daughter business.”

Jones, who works fulltime for the Howard County Library system where she is the head of materials management, said she is also glad to have a nurturing place for her daughter, Miglena, to work.

“Some days she really likes it a lot, and some days she wants to do something else,” said Jones, who adopted Miglena from Bulgaria when she was 6.