Ellen Glendinning (right), of Lafayette Hill, hands over the 75 masks she made and donated last week to employees of the Acme in Flourtown, three of whom are seen here. by Len Lear Ellen Glendinning, …
by Len Lear
Ellen Glendinning, 58, of Lafayette Hill, who has owned and operated a baking business since the fall of 2017 called Sweet Productions, has been shopping at the Acme Market in Flourtown for 25 years and has become friendly with many of the employees.
Therefore, she was very disturbed when she went there on Friday, April 3, and found “lots of people and not a lot of extra space. It was nuts! They had no masks and were in contact with so many people that I worried for them.”
So Ellen went home and decided to remedy the mask-less situation. She proceeded to make 75 face masks and delivered them Tuesday, April 7, to the supermarket. The Local called the Flourtown Acme to speak to a spokesperson, Debbie Parker, about Ellen's donation but was told she was not available. (This reporter went shopping at the Flourtown Acme the day after the delivery, and most of the employees were wearing masks.)
Ellen also made masks for a group on Facebook that distributes them to various organizations. “When I started making them 10 days ago, I was a newbie at making masks,” she said, “but I perfected my product now. After donating over 100 masks, I'm selling them now to help recover my costs.”
(Ellen is selling the masks at $10 per unit. They are one size, machine washable and reversible. They feature a strap design that does not use elastic or your ears.
Glendinning grew up in Chestnut Hill and attended Springside School. After graduation, she went to a real estate school and proceeded to enjoy a
career in real estate sales that lasted 20+ years. She left real estate to start a family. She also did personal bookkeeping, which she still does.
Her baking business, Sweet Productions, started with her own children's birthday cakes 15 years ago. “People were so impressed that they encouraged me to start my own business,” said Ellen.
Glendinning, who has lived in Lafayette Hill for 13 years, never went to culinary school but learned to bake at home by trial and error. She works out of her own home, not from a commercial kitchen. She has no employees, but her children sometimes help out. She has had some corporate customers, but most of them are individual families.
One of her customers, Eileen Carty, of Flourtown, told us, “Ellen always goes above and beyond when you order baked goods from her. It is no surprise to me that she went above and beyond and made the masks for the workers at Acme! Ellen made an out-of-this-world unicorn cake and cupcakes for my daughter's fifth birthday that we still talk about all time. She also made the cake, cupcakes and goody bag candy for my son's first Communion … On top of her incredible skill, she is also wonderful to work with!”
Another customer, Ken Surowitz of Blue Bell, told us, “My parents live in an assisted living community in Dresher, and no visitors are allowed due to the infection risk. Ellen baked a dozen assorted cookies for me and mailed them off to my parents to help brighten up their day. My folks enjoyed receiving an unexpected package in the mail as much as the delicious cookies!”
Also a customer, Kristin Schwarz, of Lafayette Hill, told us, “I am not surprised at all that Ellen went right to work making masks for her Acme as she has a strong artistic and creative side to her ... She is also a talented baker who has brought several of my childrens' cake imaginations to life.”
When asked about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on her business, Ellen said, “Obviously, there are not many parties now. I've been shipping cookies to folks who are stuck at home and also selling individually wrapped cupcakes.”
One of Ellen's most eye-catching, artistic cakes (you can see it on her website) is a U.S. flag right next to a Union Jack. It definitely looks too good to eat. “It was for a local couple's engagement,” she said. “The woman was from the U.S., and the man was from the U.K. It was a hit! When I'm hired to do a custom cake, the clients don't always know exactly what they want. They take a leap of faith and let me get creative.”
Ellen's father, Robert Glendinning 2d, a lifelong resident of Chestnut Hill until the last year of his life, when he lived at The Hill at Whitemarsh in Lafayette Hill, was a very prominent real estate executive and community leader who also wrote a Q & A real estate column for the Local. He died in October, 2008, at age 75. He served on the boards of Chestnut Hill Hospital and the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation, among others. Ellen's sister, Gigi, of Gwynedd Valley, is a prominent animal rights activist.
Ellen lives in Lafayette Hill with her husband, David Fernley, and children, Samantha, 15, and Matthew, 11. In addition to baking and making masks, Ellen enjoys nature photography and carving pumpkins.
For more information, visit sweetproductions.net. Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org