An Amarillo woman is gaining national attention as a part of Mutual of Omaha's "Aha" Moment Competition. The company discovered Joni Prater when they toured the country this summer. Now Prater is a finalist in the competition to win a national commercial spot, all because of her Amarillo bakery.
"What this bakery has been, has just been a healing process for me. And I needed that badly," Prater said.
Prater lost her mother and brother within an 11 day period. After a period of what Prater refers to as "depression", her grief gave way to healing, right in her kitchen. It's a skill Prater learned from her mom.
Then, she took that piece of her home and her heart and opened a bakery in Amarillo.
"I just thought, you know, it's time to snap out of it," Prater said, describing her very own "Aha" moment.
The Nordic Galley Bakeri has gained some notoriety from this contest, although it's truly a mom and pop store.
Prater and her husband run the place, cook up family recipes, and they won't let you leave hungry.
"We try and welcome everybody and want them to feel comfortable when they're here. And I guess most of what we have for lunch is what you would call comfort food," Chris Prater, Joni's husband said.
As for making it this far in the contest, Joni had a hard time putting it into words.
"I'm just humbled by this whole thing. I don't know. I just wish mom could see it," Prater said.
It's a story with a bitter start, but an ending that is pretty sweet. You can vote for Joni and show this Amarillo bakery some hometown support here. Voting ends Friday October 11th.