When most people think of a bakery, images of a brick-and-mortar store filled with fresh pastries come to mind. For one local business, this isn’t the case.
Chelsea McDonnel runs her bakery, Muncie Macs and More, out of her home, where she makes and sells custom orders she receives from her Facebook and Etsy pages. McDonnel said her best sellers are macarons — the namesake for the business — but she also offers cupcakes, cakes, cookies, chocolate-covered strawberries and seasonal treats, such as lemon- and strawberry-flavored sweets for spring.
McDonnel started Muncie Macs and More in 2018, but she took some time off from running her business due to a family tragedy. She started it back up near the end of 2020.
“[Muncie Macs and More] really came from my love of baking. I just really, really love baking,” McDonnel said. “It’s something that has been a bonding experience with a lot of people … and it makes people happy when you bake them something.”
Baking was intimidating at first, McDonnel said, because no one in her family had baked much and she grew up without a lot of exposure to it. Now, she loves the science behind it and knowing she can make something beautiful out of something else.
Before owning Muncie Macs and More, McDonnel ran a successful online nail polish company named Pretty and Polished from 2011-17. After experimenting and mixing her own nail polishes together, she said, she thought owning her own nail polish company sounded fun at the time.
She said she enjoyed running this company because it was easy for her to give back to the Muncie community, which is important to her because of how much the community has supported her businesses. Her nail polish company gave back to local charities such as the Little Red Door and other cancer services in the area.
As time went on, she realized she no longer wanted to run a big company because it didn’t bring her a lot of joy because she discovered she wasn’t doing what she loved anymore.
So, McDonnel combined her love of baking with her love for owning a small business to create Muncie Macs and More, which she chose to keep small and only run online. Running a business online was easier to manage than running a store itself, she said.
“With an actual storefront, you have to take into consideration all the licensing you have to get, the advertising you have to do for the store, the electricity and all of these different things,” McDonnel said. “Now, I’m ultimately working from home, and being able to do it all online saves a huge amount of money.”
McDonnel is thankful for the people of Muncie, she said, because they’ve always been supportive of her business. She’s received kind and positive feedback from everyone she’s met through orders or at events like fairs, festivals and farmer’s markets.
She said she can’t think of a time where she received any complaints from the community, and people have always told her that her prices are fair, especially for her cakes. McDonnel feels she “gets along with everyone” in Muncie.
“I think, in general, when you’re dealing with food, it’s one of those services that tends to bring out the best in people,” McDonnel said. “I feel like I’ve gotten that from the people of Muncie.”
Kiley Jimenez, preschool teacher at Teddy Bear Child Care, has ordered from Muncie Macs and More since 2018, when McDonnel did a custom macaron order for her wedding. She ordered macarons with a white shell, lemon curd and raspberry filling that matched her cake and had silver sprinkles on them.
Jimenez and McDonnel became friends about six years ago after meeting through their husbands’ friendship, and Jimenez said she knew about McDonnel’s business idea long before it opened.
“It’s been a wonderful experience on my end as a customer,” Jimenez said. “She’s always so quick with her turnaround, and everything is so fresh.”
Jimenez said one of her favorite things about ordering from Muncie Macs and More is the overall quality of each product she purchases.
She said she has ordered many treats from McDonnel, including a custom cake for her daughter’s second birthday, a pack of macarons and cookies when one of her friends was going through a hard time and a sample pack of macarons for her coworkers.
She also appreciates that McDonnel is a “one-woman show” and runs everything on her own.
“I love being able to support a local business that is owned and operated by a woman,” Jimenez said. “She is such a hardworking and caring person, and that truly shows with her products and customer service.”
Linder Richardson, cyclotron operator and Muncie resident, is another one of Muncie Macs and More regular customers. He said he has known McDonnel for a while, but he tried McDonnel’s macarons for the first time at a friend’s wedding in May 2018.
“I just recently started buying [McDonnel’s products], but now I can’t picture my life without them,” Richardson said.
In his experience, ordering McDonnel’s products online has been positive, and he has always gotten a quick response and verification. Richardson said he felt like no task was too big, too small or left uncared for.
“One time, I made a last-second order for two variety packs for a carry-in at work,” Richardson said. “Within minutes, I received an email at work asking about them.”
While McDonnel isn’t from Muncie, as she moved to town from Indianapolis in late 2009, she still considers the city and its community as her first home.
“As far as my business goes,” McDonnel said, “I want the people of Muncie to know that I care as much for them as they care for my business.”