Add MacKenzie Gnapp to the growing list of budding Wichita food entrepreneurs whose plans were interrupted by rules and regulations she wasn’t aware of.
Also add her to the growing list of budding Wichita food entrepreneurs who dusted herself off and found a solution to keep her business going.
Gnapp, 23, is the founder of On the Flipside, a dessert business that she launched during the COVID-19 pandemic with dreams of saving up to open her own bakery.
She specializes in waffle cones stuffed with a cheesecake filling then topped and drizzled. They’re decadent treats, and she makes them in seven different flavors, including strawberry crunch, banana pudding, turtle cheesecake and apple pie.
Gnapp first posted online about her waffle cones in August. She’d seen a photo of one and shared it, asking her friends if they’d buy them if she made them. The post “blew up,” she said, and suddenly, she was inundated with orders.
“I just went for it,” she said.
Soon, she was overwhelmed with orders, and she spent her time developing new flavors, creating the cones at home and delivering them to customers all over town.
Then, in late September, she received a letter from the Kansas Department of Agriculture — the same letter that many home-based food business owners in Wichita have received. It informed her that she could not operate a food business without the correct licensing and that she was not allowed to operate out of a home kitchen. Failure to comply could result in a $500 a day fine, it said.
The trouble with home-based businesses
Gnapp is far from the first Wichita entrepreneur to find herself in the same situation. Over the past year, the owners of businesses like Rice & Roll by Xing Xing and Grandma Thuy’s have started popular food businesses from home only to learn they were breaking the rules. Both of those business owners have since opened their own off-site restaurants.
Gnapp said she was frustrated, and she posted the letter to Facebook, letting her new fans know that she was temporarily out of business.
But then, she got hooked up with a high school friend’s dad, a small business consultant who helped guide her through the licensing process.
She also reconnected with Christian Shomberg, the owner of local ice cream shop Churn & Burn, which has two stores in Wichita. Gnapp had worked at Churn & Burn for two years during high school, she said.
Shomberg offered to let her use space in the kitchen of his newer shop at 11414 E. Central, and just a couple of weeks later, she was back in business. She’s using the kitchen for four hours once a week, and even better, she said, Shomberg offered to buy some of her cones wholesale to resell to customers at both of his shops, including the original at 548 S. Oliver.
His first order last week sold out quickly, she said. Gnapp is also still able to take orders and make deliveries.
She still has dreams to open her own bakery, said Gnapp, who first started baking when she was 5. But she’s not so sure about her original plan, which was to run a mermaid-themed pancake shop.
Her waffle cones are so popular — and people are begging her for the no-bake cheesecake batter she stuffs them with — that she’s going to stay focused on them for now.
“The waffle cone is a hit,” she said. “If this takes me there, cool. But if people want the waffle cones, that’s what I’m going to make.”
Gnapp said she also makes and sells cakes. To place an order, message On the Flipside on Facebook. Cones cost between $9 and $12 each and are so big and heavy, they can easily be shared, Gnapp said.
Both delivery and pickup from Churn & Burn are available.