Immediately after high school, Venable went to cosmetology school in Montgomery and later became a hair dresser in Tuskegee.
Venable said the creativeness of hair dressing and the food industry go hand-in-hand, leading her to start her own bakery.
After running a hair salon and working for a family business, Venable learned how to manage a business and become profitable.
“You learn by doing it,” Venable said.
Venable became interested in the food industry when she worked for a catering business here in Auburn. She combined her experience in catering with her enjoyment for entertaining guests at home.
“The first restaurant I had, I catered and did lunch. It was sort of an upscale Southern concept,” Venable said.
“I wasn’t open for dinner, but I did a lot of rehearsal dinners and private dinners, and that kept us real busy.”
Moving on from the restaurant, Venable became the house mother of Auburn’s Sigma Chi fraternity for a few years.
“They were the sons I never had,” Venable said. “I truly loved them.
“Sometimes they were little angels, and then other times they had horns; they were my frat brats.”
Venable was responsible for managing the house kitchen and events that took place at the house.
Venable left the Sigma Chi house after five years.
Her passion for entertaining and cooking food continued to grow till she began her own sweet shop, Venable’s Sweet Shoppe, in Opelika on Ninth Street.
The shop opened last December, and Malisa Harris has been working with Venable since then.
“I enjoy baking,” Harris said. “It gives me an outlet to do that, and it gives me an opportunity to be around the community.”
Through owning a local bakery, Venable expresses the importance of supporting the community through small businesses that line the downtown Opelika streets.
“Support your local community,” Venable said. “We have a real tight knit group down here, and I just think all these little stores in this area support each other, and I just think it’s your part to support your fellow business people and be kind to them.”
Venable said it is hard work to maintain a local shop, especially in today’s economy, but she does it because of her customers.
“When the customer calls and says what a wonderful cake I made them, or wonderful dessert, it just makes it all worthwhile,” she said.
“When you hear those words you just say, ‘Yeah, I think I can do it again.’”
Even though the hours can be long and demanding, Elizabeth Green and Harris help Venable keep the bakery up and running.
Green emphasize a message the bakery works to send to the community:
“Life is short; eat dessert first.”