HENNESSEY, Okla. (KFOR) – Running a small business is no easy task, and in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and now inflation, many small businesses are needing to cut costs to keep their doors open.

While that still remains a reality, one Oklahoma restaurant is staying focused on the community it serves by giving back and helping a young woman make her dream a reality.

Growing up, aspiring baker and student Shiann Best always loved baking.

As a child, she would make all kinds of desserts.

“It was my de-stressor, I’d be in the kitchen to de-stress,” she said.

Shiann Best in Hennessey
Shiann Best

Over the years, it stuck with her and became her passion.

Currently, Best is a student at Escoffier School Of Culinary Arts and is working toward an Associate’s Degree.

One of the requirements for that degree is an internship.

In her search to find a host, she decided to reach out to Sparky’s Eatery, a local mom and pop restaurant in Hennessey, Oklahoma.

Sparky's Eatery
Sparky’s Eatery KFOR

It was there she met Devin Brown, the owner of Sparky’s.

She admits she was a little nervous but wasn’t going to let it get in her way.

“I came in and brought some of my photos for them so that they could look through them, and discussed everything with them,” she said.

Brown looked through her portfolio and was impressed with what he saw.

Not only would this be good for Best, Sparky’s would benefit as well.

  • Cream cheese kolaches
  • Cream puffs
  • Graham cookie
  • Oreo cookie
  • Peanut butter cookie
  • Raspberry tart

In November, Best started her internship.

“It’s fun and I enjoy it. I have to do so many hours for school. Luckily, they let me do it here,” she said.

She appreciates Sparky’s close-knit culture and makes her feel like she’s a part of the family.

As for a typical day at Sparky’s, she says that she “fulfills any orders and makes anything that is requested.”

Brown tells KFOR that he was more than happy to extend the opportunity to Best.

“She wants to do this as a full-time position. Baking, having her place, doing her own thing, and that is why when she came to us, we didn’t hesitate. She can learn her skill and then go out into the world and start a restaurant, bakery, or her own confectionary business. We get to say that we helped with that,” Brown said.

Brown says that he loves the community and how a lot of the locally-owned businesses work together there.

“This is such a small community, Hennessey is a smaller town. We want to give back as much as possible, and Shiann is a great opportunity to be able to do that,” Brown said.

Best says after she completes her internship and learns more about the business side, she hopes to one day open a bakery in Hennessy.

For now, she says she has a lot of work to do and is very thankful for the opportunity to pursue her dream.