The old adage, “From here to anywhere,” can be used to describe so many of Belmont’s graduates, whether they end up in California or China. For alumna Leah Carmean, “From here to anywhere” took her just a few blocks away from campus, to 8th Avenue South in Nashville, where she is fulfilling her long-time dream of opening a bakery. Aided by her expertise in entrepreneurship (her major at Belmont), her husband Adam and her love of baking, Carmean’s dream is being realized right down the street from her alma mater.
Baked on 8th, which opened in June, actually began as a brain child during Carmean’s time at Belmont. She wrote, “I did my initial business plan for a bakery while at Belmont with unending encouragement from many wonderful professors,” particularly Dr. Jeff Cornwall (entrepreneurship) and Dr. Bonnie Smith Whitehouse (English). “I took three writing courses with Dr. Smith Whitehouse, and much of my writing was focused on my dream of opening a bakery.” She also wrote her first business plan in Cornwall’s class, which she described as an “incredibly challenging process,” but also “the most rewarding work of my college career.”
According to Smith Whitehouse, “In my third-year writing class… Leah researched and wrote a tremendous business plan for a bakery she had long dreamed of opening. I have used her work as an exemplar of fine writing and research in the years since she was my student. I remember she generously brought scrumptious baked treats to our class one day. Leah even baked my wedding cake!”
Baked on 8th consists of around 10 employees and is already receiving rave reviews, including this recent Nashville Scene article. The shop focuses on serving cakes, pies and other single-serving desserts in “classic Southern bakery” fashion.
Belmont, Carmean wrote, was the driving force behind her dream. “I am so fortunate to have had a college education that has helped mold me and push me to actually become an entrepreneur, even eight years after graduating! Without my education, I know I would lack the confidence to actually take this leap into business ownership.”