RAMSEY, N.J. -- Ramsey baker Christie Ross is fed up with not being able to sell her homemade cakes to friends and others in the community due a state law that prevents bakers and chefs from doing so.
New Jersey is one of only two states, the other is Wisconsin, that doesn't have a cottage law that allows for small business owners to sell "homemade" items to the public.
"It is just ridiculous that after years of operating my own business out of my home in Virginia that I can't do the same thing in New Jersey because one senator is against the idea," said Ross.
The "one senator" is Sen. Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex), Chairman of Health and Human Services Committee. Vitale is holding up a bill that has been introduced several times since 2009 by Sen. Kip Bateman (R-Sommerset) and has been passed by the New Jersey Assembly.
Vitale's issue with the bill is that it is unfair to mom and pop stores who pay rent and buy insurance.
Ross isn't the only person upset with the lack of the bill's passage. The New Jersey Home Bakers spend hours on Facebook working to gain support and get the bill passed.
"My baked goods have been featured on party/event planning blogs and magazines and I'm passionate about baking," Ross said. "Now, I'm painting because I can't earn money to help support my family without breaking the law."
The busy mother of two, who teaches baking at the Ridgewood Culinary Studio and who does painting jobs on the side, has looked into renting a commercial space for her business, but the costs are prohibitive, and she doesn't want the hours associated with opening a brick and mortar store because of her children.
"It just doesn't make sense that talented people are prevented from selling their homemade items when I could go 15 miles into New York and not have a problem," she said. "If the issue was about the products used or how clean a kitchen is, that's another issue that can be regulated. But it's not."
Ross, who holds a Safe Serve certification and was insured, now spends her time painting kitchens or maybe baking cupcakes for a friend's birthday party. She said she misses the hours spent in the kitchen creating works of art.
"Hopefully, the senator will change his mind and talented people across the state will be able to sell their 'homemade' goods," she said.
To contact Ross, or to see her creations, click here.