By Lindsey Adkison The Brunswick News, Ga.
Pam Taylor knows that there's plenty of things to bring a person down in life. That's why she's made it her mission to save the world -- one cupcake at a time.
Of course, it didn't start out that way for the Brunswick native and former law enforcement officer. In fact, it took years before she found her calling.
"I was actually working with the United Nations in Haiti as a tech advisor and gender advisor, protecting women and children. I implemented programs out in villages," she explained.
Every time she was preparing to leave for the Caribbean nation -- she'd pray the same prayer. In it, she would ask God to stop the trip if something bad were to happen. Twice, Taylor says, he did just that.
"The first time ... it was right before the flood hit and something came up very last minute," she said.
"The last time I was going to go for training and I had my luggage by the door, with the handle up. I asked God to stop it and the phone rang."
On the other end was a voice telling her the trip was off. And she knew that God had, once again, intervened. It's been a pattern for Taylor's life. And it was God who also lead her to open the doors of her business, located at 1514 Newcastle Street.
"He gave me this bakery. I even have a sign that says 'God did this'," she said, sitting at one of the tables in the brightly appointed shop.
Her family, she says, also helped give her the push she needed.
"My daughter threw me a 50th birthday party and they gave me the most beautiful cake. And I thought 'oh I would like to make that.' But I didn't know how to do cakes so I did cupcakes," she said.
And she did a lot of them. Taylor baked and baked, giving all of her goodies away to friends and family. And with plenty of encouragement, she opened Pam Pam's in 2011. Even though it was during the Great Recession, Taylor kept the faith. It paid off -- three years later, she's still going strong.
Part of the reason she feels that she's succeeded is the simple fact that cupcakes often equal happiness.
"We have so many people who come in and get a cupcake for their sick friend or relative. It really brightens someone's day and, if you can do that for just $3, that's really great," she said. "I want everyone to have a cupcake."
Considering her variety, that's easily done. Taylor's sweet shop offers everything a cupcake enthusiast could expect or even dream up. Standard treats in the case include an Elvis cupcake (complete with banana and peanut butter and sea salt), red velvet (her most popular), her signature key lime as well as her award-winning hot fudge sundae cupcake. In truth, Taylor can also whip up just any cupcake a person can imagine, including cupcakes with edible business or college team logos. She can even do sugar free or vegan treats.
Taylor has become the go-to baker for local weddings and other occasions, delivering and displaying her cupcakes throughout the Golden Isles. She even offers birthday parties in her shop.
"I give the kids little aprons, cupcakes, bags of frosting and candy for them to decorate them with," she said. "It's really a lot of fun. I can make speciality cupcakes for it too. I made a grape soda cupcake for a little girl's party."
But there's much more. Pam Pam's offers an assortment of ice cream (eight flavors) and recently Taylor has expanded into the realm of cakes.
"Right now, we're just doing round cakes but we can do just about any kind of cake you want," she said. "We can do leopard print or zebra. We can do neon ... German chocolate, pretty much any kind of cake, as long as it's round."
The quality and versatility is never lost on the customers. In fact, Pam Pam's delicious goodies have come to be appreciated by many international visitors who come to Brunswick.
The shop, which is rated number one cafe and bakery by Tripadvisor, has hosted guest from nearly every continent.
"Every time I hear someone with an accent, I say, 'where are ya'll from?' And then I ask them to sign the book," Taylor said, as she flipped through her guest book. "I've had people from Russia, Australia, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Tokoyo, Sweden, Bolivia, Ireland, France and England."
The wide array of visitors also speaks to Taylor's own adventurous spirit. In her rare spare time, she enjoys traveling to different countries, as well as taking her motorcycle out for spins with friends.
"I'm a biker chick," she said with a big laugh.
But while Pam Pam's and Taylor herself is always full of good humor and a sense of fun, she never looses sight of the mighty hand that made it all possible. And Taylor makes it a point to express her gratitude daily and listen whenever God speaks to her, a practice that brought her to where she is today.
"I'm very obidient," she said with a smile.